This Thanksgiving, my flight was delayed as a result of snowpocalypse. During my idle time, I eavesdropped on a number of conversations and examined the behavior of those around me as any writer would.
1. Stay calm.
Getting angry will not help you get home faster; if anything, it is exhausting and will slow down time. Choose to be calm. As an anxious person myself I recognize how irritating this advice may be, since you don’t always have control over your emotions. Recognize the issues that are under your control and the ones that are not. Change what you can, and deal with everything else.
2. Be nice to people who have to work on the holiday.
Although you may be disappointed that you will not have as much time with your family, realize that those who work in public transit—or in any establishment open on a holiday—may not see their family at all. Be nice to them.
3. Be considerate to parents with crying children.
Parents of crying children have a lot more to deal with than the painful shriek of an anguished baby. They know their child is giving you a headache or ruining your episode of Orange is the New Black. Not only do parents have to endure the sound of a crying baby a great deal more than you do, they also withstand the judgmental and angry looks of those around them, which makes them feel as though they are a bad parent.
4. Read a book or watch a TV show.
People who read books are much more calm. They understand and appreciate the importance of silencing the real world and falling into someone else’s world, if only for 300 pages. Finding a great book or a TV show that you can look forward to finally binge-watching has its perks. TV and books aren’t merely funny or entertaining—they allow you to pause the current situation and enter a completely different life.
5. Don’t go shopping.
You can go shopping in an airport…but you shouldn’t. Stores prey on people like us. While you are anxiously awaiting your flight, you may not notice that prices are significantly marked up. Do not submit to the opportunists. They are everywhere. Companies know when and why you will pay 15 dollars for a sandwich or 200 hundred dollars for a purse that would cost $50 anywhere else. They know, and they will get you. Do yourself a favor: Pack your own snacks and shop from low to high in the online clearance section of your favorite store.
You are the lucky ones. Yes, you trip may not be flawless but at least you get to go home and you have a family to go home to…not everyone can say that about themselves. Our lives may not be perfect, but we must make an effort to recognize how fortunate we are.
7. Bloody Marys at airports are strong…really strong.
Airports are emotional places for a number of reasons. Parents send their kids off to college; as they watch their child approach the terminal, they see them transforming from their once-sweet baby into an adult. Couples in long-distance relationships, who tricked themselves into believing that they would one day live in the same city, endure the heartbreak that they voluntarily put themselves through four times a year as they slowly let go of their embrace of their person. Bartenders at airports get that and they’re willing to help. Which is why I am currently sipping a Bloody Mary with about a half a fifth of vodka poured into it.
8. Before boarding, we all sit together.
The first class and the coach flyers all sit together while we’re waiting to board the plane. It is an enticing thought to believe that money can buy you an easier life. Those who have disposable incomes seemingly appear as though they can pay help to do virtually anything. What they can’t do, however, is pay help to make their flight come faster. There are some issues that everyone must assume in life. Although it can seem that money, race, gender, or sexuality can cause you to lead a completely disparate life than those around you, keep in mind that we all share fundamental similarities. We are all people, we all feel frustration when our flights are delayed, and we all experience heartbreak at some point, so always be understanding and kind.
9. Everybody listens to Taylor Swift.
I am currently sitting between a kind elderly woman who is blasting “Shake it Off” by T. Swift (she told me her it’s her granddaughter’s favorite song, and she wants to keep up with the kids) and a mountain of a man in a military uniform who is kindly sharing his T. Swift with the world as well. Sometimes you need a playlist to resort to when life is hard—a playlist that will make you smile.