High, Low, Buffalo
I just got back from a vacation with Mom, Dad, and two of my sisters. We went to Washington DC. It had been over two decades since I visited DC and I was excited to go.
A big vacation with a group of people can be trying. Doing this in a busy place where there is more to see than you could see in four days is likely to create tension, mix-ups, and possibly arguments.
Not only did none of that happen, I learned something new. I learned how to turn just about anything into something better.
Getting up at 3:00 AM to make our flight at LAX was amazingly tolerable once the twin sized comforter and fluffy, yet firm pillow came out of the plastic and the mimosa was in my hand.
We landed, and the driver helped us with our bags. We arrived at The Fairmont at about 4:00 PM. I never share a room with my sisters. No one can share a room with me. I am impossible to sleep near. That is another story.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
We went for a walk, and the hijinx began. It must have been the drinking after such an exhausting day. Alcohol, the best fish-and-chips we have ever tasted, and the two younger following our older sister as she randomly jay-walked through the city.
All of the giggling and chatter you might expect from three sisters. I think we might have been a: adorable or b: nauseating. I am going for a.
When our parents arrived, we went where we always go, the place we do what we do, the bar. Nice bar at that hotel. They have a great selection of specialty gin and tonics.
Drinks, small plates, plans, laughing.
My mom brought a journal, a blank journal. She decided that at the close of every day of the trip each of us would write something about our memories of the day. It was something like that; I don’t remember because we didn’t ever do it. Why? Because of “High, Low, Buffalo.”
My older sister suggested to us at this family board meeting, that we try something fun. She suggested we play a game. At the end of each day, we will each share with the group what our high for the day was, our low for the day was, and our ‘buffalo’ for the day was. Your ‘Buffalo’ is the funniest thing that happened that day.
I am happy to report that lows were hard to find, highs were plentiful, and each day was one big Buffalo. One sister was ill for the entirety of a day, that was low for all of us, but on that same day I tripped and fell while texting. We all laughed, including me, and it may have even been the buffalo of the people around us also entering Arlington Cemetary.
That day that I fell, I felt less self-conscious than I ever have about some dumb thing.
Reliving various moments of each day over dinner, or drinks made us laugh all over again. We often found ways to laugh at the lows, realizing that what we thought was bad at the time was pretty funny. (My low: skinning my knee was pretty damned funny, to be honest! If you are not laughing maybe you had to be there.)
I noticed that our highs were always things we did together, funny jokes between us and silly things we maybe should not have done (see photo, omg). Our Buffalos were often laughing at the hilarity of another family member in a good-natured way. We are all pretty funny if I do say so. The lows were sometimes trivial and easy to fix, or they were emotional responses to monuments that maybe were not really ‘low’ but evocative of the importance of history.
Given the gift of time and perspective, a low can become a high or a buffalo. Seeing something with fresh eyes after a nap, or different eyes along with friends or family can change EVERYTHING.
I learned that lesson again a few days after I got home. I had a bit of a run-in involving my three dogs and my neighbor’s dog. I explained the story on Facebook in a creative way and got many comments. One of the comments was my favorite. The comment from my sister:
“If you got that on video I think that would be my Buffalo.”
I laughed pretty loud at that and all of a sudden the incident became a Buffalo for me too.
Try it. At the end of the day take the time to talk to a friend, your partner, anyone. Tell the stories. It can be about anything. What was your high today? What was your low today? Finally, finish it off with the cherry on top: What was your Buffalo?