The universe is testing me. On repeat. Clearly a lesson has yet to be learned but the powers that be are skimpy with instructions.
On yesterday’s Bubble Hour episode (with Guest Heidi Ferrer), I related my most recent travel woes of getting stuck in a snowstorm and spending the night on an airport floor. I was quite pleased with myself for remaining calm and polite, despite the difficult circumstances. After all, I was not alone. Hundreds were in the same situation and the tired masses were generally congenial. The few who were not definitely stood out.
I’ve been thinking about one woman in particular on that trip. As we sat on the tarmac for hours on end, she got on her phone and was making sure her friends knew she was unhappy. Then she started demanding alcohol be served. She told the beleaguered flight attendant it was the least the airline could do for us poor trapped passengers.
Hours on the tarmac is no one’s idea of fun, but bringing out the booze would make my life more uncomfortable, even as it made hers supposedly more bearable. I am not sure what worried me more, being trapped an an airless can with booze flowing all around, or how much louder this woman might become with a few drinks to loosen her up. Thankfully, we were let off the plane before the serving commenced.
Presumably everyone who got on the rescheduled flight the next morning was equally tired. We’d all been through the same ordeal and we’d all done our best to catch a few winks in an airport designed for movement, not rest. Guess who was behind me? The same woman, only more irritable now.
Unfortunately, we were again stuck on the tarmac and again her phone came out. Again there were loud conversations, this time with shouting and tears and drama drama drama. I was trying not to judge her but she was making it hard! We finally took off, however, everyone with a connecting flight would need rerouting, which meant at the next airport most of us found ourselves together in yet another line.
Guess who was at the front of the line, shouting at the service agent? Mmmm-hmmm. Same gal. The worse she acted the more I felt determined to stay calm.
And do you know what happened next? A supervisor came out and told the woman, “Here, come with me.” She led her away from the crowd, keeping her arm around her shoulders and took her to a quiet spot. I watched as the supervisor nodded and listened to the woman under her arm, who was soon sobbing and quiet. She had just needed a little kindness, to felt heard and seen.
That situation offered two lessons. First, that a little kindness goes a long ways. And second, this got me thinking about the lines we draw for ourselves, the permission we give ourselves. If X happens, it is okay to do Y.
I think it is worth examining our beliefs around this. Do you have unconscious rules that nullify your own standards? What about your sobriety? Do you have things in mind that could “justify” a relapse? Cancer, infidelity, your sisters wedding?
We don’t drink no matter what.
Here I am travelling alone again, this time to help host a SheRecovers retreat in Mexico. And once again, I have had significant disruptions and will now be travelling overnight, arriving a day later than expected. I am staying positive but I’ll admit my smile was through gritted teeth a time or two today.
I am so tired I could cry. In fact I did cry, just a few tears of frustration when no one was looking. Shhhh.
My husband texted: Make the best of the situation…keep your head up…you are helping all you meet this week. That nearly made me cry for the second time today, but the other kind of tears. The good kind.