My August goal was to bring a spirit of playfulness to situations that normally make me want to curse, cry or cringe. Here’s how the month went.
Grocery line five deep. I strike a conversation with a fellow in the next grocery store checkout line about how tough it was to find a parking spot in the crowded lot. Turns out we’d both moved several construction cones to create a parking space. A friendly banter follows about whose checkout line will be fastest. The customer ahead of me has arugula that requires a price check. I roll my eyes. His cashier is too young to scan his wine. Ha, got him. Score this good.
Travel delay. My plane for a trip from Columbus to Eugene is broken. Hours pass as United scrambles to find a working plane in this hemisphere. The chance to make my connecting flight in Denver is evaporating and my two protein bars are gone. Another passenger shares some trivia: pilots don’t get paid during delays, only when flying. Oh, great, angry pilots. After two and a half hours, we board and when we arrive in Denver, I have three minutes until my connecting flight departs – some 40 gates away. Oddly enough, I feel challenged. It’s a game and I’m a distance runner. I tie my shoelaces tightly, though as it turn out, in a granny knot that comes loose. Passengers seated near me agree to be defensive blockers. Off the plane, I sprint the half-mile to my gate only to see it closed. Panting, I think I might cry, but the door opens and the flight attendant says, “There you are.” I am giddy with happiness. Score this very good.
Camping overnight in park-and-ride lot. The sun was setting over Lake Champlain in Vermont, we were tired of driving, and the campground shown on our map didn’t exist. While I’m usually cool with pulling the van into a park-and-ride lot for a night’s sleep, not so this evening. I cannot reconcile being this close to beauty and waking to the roar of some guy’s diesel truck at four a.m. Score this total fail.
Clearly, in the last example, I was not in the flow. That’s the non-scientific term researchers sometimes use to describe the mental state of play, a time when your mind is alert, in the moment and not stressed by the fear of failure or other distractions. But I am not daunted. If you can find lightness standing in the grocery store line or going through airport customs (see previous post), there is hope.