Since it’s right after the holidays, I bet a lot of us spent time in airports recently and experienced the joys of airport screening, whether the new, enhanced soft-core porn technique or the old-fashioned sock hop.
I must be an essential optimist, because I think we can glean important life lessons from airport screening, even though I usually wind up in the line with the screaming baby or the person with amnesia and secret metal body parts.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned:
Bigger isn’t always better. O.K., we all know we’re only supposed to take those tiny travel-sized products through security, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying to get through with a tub of hair gel. Despite wondering what in the world they were planning to do with all that goop, I resolved to take a close look at when I might be looking for something bigger than I needed, whether that meant my work expectations or serving at a salad bar.
Keep it simple. You’ve probably seen people trying to coordinate a boatload of carry-ons, like a computer, suitcase, garment bag, suit jacket, tennis racket, purse and a partridge in a pear tree. But how much baggage do we carry with us in our daily lives that gets in our way just as much?
Even if you know what’s coming, you still might not be ready. You know that to go through screening, you’ll have to take off your shoes, get your computer out of the case and put your belongings in a tub. So why do some people seem completely unprepared?
A good attitude helps. You’ve also probably seen people who get irritated, nervous and confused by the whole screening process. As a result, they can’t get their shoes off or put their tubs properly on the belt, so air raid sirens go off and everyone in the line has to do the hokey-pokey until the cheese stands alone. Or something like that. This taught me that staying calm under pressure and smiling politely even if you’re irritated can be great time-savers.
This, too, shall pass. You know how they say the longest journey starts with a single step? Even the slowest line eventually comes to a conclusion. Try telling yourself that the next time you’re stuck in a long one. Pay attention to the small shuffling steps forward that you actually do make. Celebrate small victories and hang in there. You will eventually make your way through. And if you can get through security in a crowded airport with your spirits intact, well, even the sky is no longer the limit.
by Danielle Dresden