Thursday, December 31, 2015

#364: Keeping my big fat mouth shut

I arrived at the Austin airport yesterday morning an hour-and-a-half before my flight. I've never had to get there that early; usually I get checked in and through security in about 15 minutes, then sit for half an hour working on my computer.

Not so this time! The line for curbside checking was long, and I arrogantly walked inside, feeling superior to the nimrods waiting in the cold. The line doubled back on itself like I've never seen before. I migrated with a group of likeminded passengers to the end of the line and immediately began making snarky remarks to the people in line. Midway through the 3rd huff and eye roll, I caught myself. I noticed that there was an icky feeling inside of me. Vaguely I sensed that there were larger problems in the world than my inconvenience and discomfort, though the thought wasn't that clear.

I stopped talking to the people around me, as I couldn't trust myself to not complain if I did.

For the rest of the line I just stood there, playing on my phone. I told myself over and over that I hadn't slept much this week; that I'd just spent 8 days with my family; that I'd been to a memorial service the day before; and that I was sad to be leaving my parents. Just be quiet.

A few pieces of humble pie and 63 minutes later I arrived at the check-in counter. My plane was going to take off in 22 minutes. The attendant told me that three full flights had been cancelled that morning, then the day got worse. It began to sink in that other people were having way worse days than I.

Security wasn't nearly as long, but it moved slowly.  My anxiousness about missing my flight spewed out a few times, but I learned a few people behind me were on my same flight. Again I recognized that I was not alone, that other people were also "suffering". My anxiety was going through the roof. All I could think about was staying in the airport for 5 more hours waiting to get on the next flight out. I called Southwest but when the automated system answered I hung up, surrendering to my powerlessness over everything.

At 11:25, my departure time, I was taking off my shoes for security. At least I'm not the only one, I told myself.

I grabbed my stuff off the belt and ran to Gate 10, where there were about 6 people in line to board the plane!! I was huffing and puffing and so grateful that I made it. The couple in front of me were huffing and puffing and had been in back of me in security.

Turns out we all made it.

And while I did do a fair amount of fretting and working myself up into quite an anxious state, I am proud that I did manage to keep my mouth shut and didn't make it worse for the people around me.

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