(Probably needs a different title, but I kinda like how it sounded.)
Yesterday I had a delayed flight and then a diverted flight with multiple in-air delays. Of course no one is happy about a delay, but how you react to it is a big part of how you look at the world and how you are perceived by those around you. Are you going to complain to everyone within earshot about how this affects YOU? Or are you going to commiserate with everyone else since you’re all in the same boat, and there’s no need to make it all about YOU?
During the delays, the holding patterns, the diversion to Cincinnati, the people around me were cracking jokes, talking about things we had to do when we landed and stuff like that, but no one was taking it out on a flight attendant or the person next to them. No one (at least around me) argued how THEY were affected more than someone else. I didn’t see any gate agent being berated as I walked off. I enjoyed that. I even talked with a couple of these people all the way to baggage claim.
This kinda reminds me of the people I’d meet outside when I was a smoker. You’re forced outside in the heat or cold, you forgot a lighter, you’re out of smokes, you’ve been trying to quit or cut back, prices were raised, whatever. The commiseration brings you and that other smoker together because you both know what it’s like, and even though these similarities are mostly unsaid, there’s an instant kinship. You may not ever know their name, you may not ever think or speak to them again, but things were enjoyable for that short time. While I don’t miss being a smoker, I do miss that camaraderie, and it’s also why I believe that smoking is still one of the best ice-breakers. You may meet someone who doesn’t talk at all or complains incessantly, or you have a great conversation with a random person. Luckily, I usually found the latter.
Bill Murray made a comment a while back about traveling the world with someone before marriage and if I remember correctly was met with a little indignation about it being an elitist, privileged way of thinking. It does have merit if you look at the basics of it though. Traveling is wrought with stressful shit. So hang out with someone, romantically or platonically, during the shitty times, and see how they react to a flat tire, a lost hotel reservation, a cancelled flight, or any other crap, travel related or not. Then you can determine whether you want to spend the happy times with that person as well.
And even if you never plan on spending time with that person again, such as the anyone in row 32 through 34 on my flight last night, at least you can help make the time more enjoyable for yourself and those around you.
I did some preliminary checking and there’s no Count Dracula, Count Chocula, or even Count Von Count on my flight, so the misty fog remains unexplained.
But I feel refreshed and my face looks three years younger so I’ve got THAT going for me.
Which is nice.