Aunty’s partner is often late. He likes to lose himself in time whereas I watch it flash by, micro-second by micro-second. Recently, we were booked on a flight to Sydney and looking forward to a few lovely days in the Blue Mountains. “Be home by 12.00pm so we can leave for the airport to be on time for the flight”, I lectured him. He arrived home at 12:20pm with a silly grin. I know I cannot control the way he sees time so I don’t get cross with him anymore and, that way, I have an easier life.
We set off for the airport, parked and went to the gate. The flight was full so my partner sat in row seventeen behind the exit row with me up front at row ten. The seating could have been within our control but we chose not to pay extra to select our seats. The flight was on time and we boarded the plane.
The plane taxied out to the runway and we waited to take off. We waited and waited, sat and sat. After thirty minutes, I remarked to the lady sitting next to me that I didn’t think we were going anywhere except back to the terminal. She was very upset, replying, “But I have to get to Sydney. I’m getting an award at 5 o’clock”. She was not getting an award that night. After one hour of sitting, the pilot returned the plane to the terminal. An announcement came over the address system, “To those of you who don’t know what is going on, we have a passenger who is getting off, right now”. And get off he did. A twenty-something dude swaggered down the plane, waving at all those people he had inconvenienced. Two or three yelled back abuse but mostly the passengers’ behaviour was really good.
We didn’t know what had happened but I thought of all those passengers now delayed.
The return flight, international connections, loved ones waiting. I got off the plane and watched the exiting passengers. All, but one, looked furious, wearing scowling faces. My partner, who was grinning from ear to ear, said, “Best flight ever”. Same flight, different reaction. We couldn’t control what had happened but we could all control our reactions to the situation.
Apparently, the dude had been assigned an exit row. Passengers have choice over these seats and can ask to sit somewhere else. If you sit in any of the exit row seats, all luggage must be placed in the overhead locker. He didn’t want to move his bags put overhead yet wouldn’t let the air hostesses touch his bag either. They offered for him to sit somewhere else. He refused this option as well. So he was kicked off the plane into the hands of Federal Police. That gentleman will never fly with that airline and, once word gets around, it will be a long time until he flies with any carrier ever again. We were delayed by one hour and the idiot never got to Sydney. With all the begging, pleading and reasoning they could muster, the air hostesses, passengers and pilot were unable to make that chap put his bag in the right place. He was beyond, and out of control.
Aretha Franklin sang “You make me feel like a natural woman”. I have heard people say things like, “You make angry”, “You make me feel awful”, “You make me feel stupid” or inferior, insecure, scared, upset, guilty. Understand clearly that none of us has a magical power to make anyone feel, do, think or say anything. We can nag, cajole, plead, cry and stamp feet trying to convince the other person we are right, we are perfect and our way is the only way. If the other person doesn’t want to feel, do, think or say something, they will not.
If you want others to do your bidding, look at yourself first. You have complete control over your reactions to situations. You can choose to be furious or you can say, “Best flight ever”. Control your feelings, actions and words and be the best human you can be because the only person you can control is yourself. You cannot control the weather, the number of hours in the day, the fact that you need to eat and drink to survive and you cannot control other people.
Control what you can control and accept that you have no control over the rest.