So, it’s Saturday and I’m headed off on a business trip, which is unusual in and of itself. I normally am able to schedule my work travel so it doesn’t impinge on my time off, but circumstances dictated this time, I had to put my days off… well, off.
Saturday is an interesting day to travel when you’re used to traveling primarily during the week – when the planes are usually filled with the random vacationing family and are mostly full of business suits. Today, it’s the business traveler who is the odd man and/or woman out. And the attitude in the airport is palpably different.
Harried parents are watching after over-stimulated children. People are crammed into every nook and cranny, because it seems like every chair is filled. Plane changes, gate changes, irate announcements over the intercoms and cancellations are making every line at the gate agents’ desks look like a line up from a crime show... furrowed brows, grumbling, and generally bad attitudes, combined with an occasional punctuated roll of the eyes and sighing. As if any of that helps.
Travelers should never be encouraged to expect the worst; however, they can certainly make a bad situation worse than it needs to be by losing their temper or becoming angry over issues that ultimately, are out of the control of anyone physically in the airport. On this layover, I was sitting next to a woman who was also traveling for work, and being a perfect example of making the worst of it. She had places to go! Things to do! They fly thousands of planes every day, and HERS was ALWAYS the one that would cancel, change, or otherwise “do something” to change her plans.
As I sat there in quasi-disbelief, looking at a woman with whom I could probably trade seats, jobs, and lives, and there would be substantially little difference as we are around the same age and have similar life and travel circumstances, I could only ask one question – “would you rather be on a plane that shouldn’t be in the air, or on the ground, safe in the airport, while mechanics work on it?”
For some the glass is half full, for others it’s half empty, and a small percentage of people simply stand there wondering who had the audacity to drink something out of a glass that obviously wasn’t theirs to begin with.
The best advice I can give any solo traveler is this: No one “makes” you happy or angry, you consciously choose to be one or the other - wherever you are, whatever you are doing. In travel, as in life, choosing to be happy, and to give happiness to others in stressful situations, actually can contribute to you being responsible for your OWN happiness, and in turn, “making” yourself happy.
And if you had a conversation with me at the Paradise Café and Bakery in the Denver International Airport, and I smiled and said, “I hope you have a better day,” I truly hope you did.