Back in August, my mother, daughter, and I visited my sister in Savannah for the weekend. When it was time to leave, our first flight home was cancelled. Our second flight home—the next day—was also cancelled. And so on and so forth until we got a three-connection itinerary that took us to some of the most delightful airports south of the Mason-Dixon line before we were desposited, twelve hours later, in New York City.
We were lucky. It was summer and we didn’t have anywhere to be, and I work for myself. We stayed calm. Others among us—namely the other passengers on our first flight—all must have been heart surgeons with actual hearts in their carry-on luggage because everyone needed to get home ON THAT DAY. No ifs, ands, or buts. We watched in amusement as people plugged numbers into their cell phones with such force that we were surprised that the phones didn’t break on contact. We watched as every single passenger berated the ticket agents for this inconvenience, as if the ticket agents were responsible for the fifty mile an hour winds in New York. We watched as husbands yelled at wives, and wives yelled at children, and children played in the aisles, blissfully unaware that their trip to Hilton Head had been extended by one, or maybe two, days.
It all came back to me as I watched the news coverage of the “Blizzard of the Century” these past days. Oh, and since the century is only a decade old, should we have trotted out that moniker too quickly? So willy-nilly? Surely there will be other blizzards in the next ninety years; what will we call them? Anyway, many reporters worked through the night to bring us this news: “It’s snowing. A lot.” But pity the poor reporter who was stranded in LaGuardia Airport—a hell hole on regular days—to talk with travelers who had just a slim hope of getting home before New Year’s Eve or in this calendar year. Amazingly, they were all extremely calm. One woman, carrying her Port Authority-issue mat with her in case she needed to sleep on the floor again, spoke of washing up in the rest room, eating lots of healthy airport food instead of junk, drinking water, and waiting it out patiently. She knew that there was nothing to do but be positive, and as a result, was incredibly calm and poised. She even had on makeup! I don’t know about you all, but the first thing to go in the face of life’s inconvenience is makeup. But this woman was all made up, dressed fashionably and appropriately for the weather, and had every hair in place. She talked about the beauty of the snow and the kindness of airport employees. Jim and I looked at each other in awe, wondering where this Zen-filled woman had come from. And if she would ever make it back there.
How we react to life’s inconveniences really shows our true colors, don’t you think? I know it’s easy to go with our first instinct, which for me is to rail at the injustice of it all. But by taking the high road along with a deep breath, accepting that things sometimes are out of our control, is not to relinquish the upper hand. It’s called ‘going with the flow’ and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do that whenever I can. (I can hear my family members laughing heartily at this proclamation but I’m going to give it my best shot; I’m proven myself to be spectacularly pig-headed and not flow-going.) This resolution will prove to be challenging and will definitely take me out of my Type-A comfort zone but hey, it’s worth a try. And it will be far less challenging than sleeping on a Port Authority-issue mat in the middle of LaGuardia airport. That, my friends, takes a force of will I just don’t have.
How did you weather the storm, Stiletto friends? And what are your resolutions for the new year?