If you fly frequently, you’ve had to deal with crying babies, people who take too long to go into their seats and block the aisle from everyone else, and delays. And you’ve dealt with grumpiness. Other passengers, the airline crews, and sometimes your own.
Art Carden wrote a post a while back on “How to Win at Travel.” In it, he reminds us that compassion can go a long way when traveling.
His exact words were, when you feel mean, do something nice.
I’ve tried to take this advice to heart and when I feel myself getting impatient, I think about his article.
I was on a flight recently where the baby across the aisle from me was crying hysterically. And I had a headache. And I was tired.
My initial reaction was to sigh and slam my head back against my headrest indignantly. Aside from not really helping with the headache part, it isn’t a productive action overall.
So I resisted every urge I had and I made a silly face at the baby.
I didn’t want to make a silly face at the baby, but I did.
The baby looked at me confused for a second and then resumed crying.
So I made a sillier face.
The baby looked confused a little longer before going back to crying. But the crying itself started sounding a little confused.
So I made a even more silly face then went “Boop!”
Yes, I said boop.
The baby started giggling a little.
So I started seeing what faces and what noises I could make that would make the baby giggle instead of cry.
Eventually, I forgot I even had a headache as the baby was laughing hysterically.
It started getting a little tiring after a while, but I definitely did not feel the same way I felt initially–annoying, frustrated, and well, pissed off.
I was only trying to suppress the negative, but couldn’t help but start feeling positive because of that.