Focus on the good.

Willis Tower. 2018.

My flight home from Minneapolis was delayed on Thursday. Actually, my flight home from Minneapolis was delayed three times on Thursday. 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock, “hopefully we’ll be out of here by 9,” they said, “as long as the weather clears up”.

It’s always promising when the flight crew uses words like “hopefully” and “as long as”.

I texted Kyle. “Looks like we’re delayed again.” Since he was supposed to be picking me up from the airport that night. “At this rate I won’t get home until after midnight.” And we both still had to get up and go to work the next morning.

Apparently there were storms in Chicago. At least that’s that they kept telling us. I didn’t see any of the little-rain-cloud-icons on my Apple Weather App (because as soon as they made this announcement – I whipped out my phone to double-check, like an asshole) – but otherwise, I had no reason not to believe them.

Why would they make that up? It’s “raining” in Chicago – aka, the pilot is missing, or the engine fell out, or one of the wings snapped off on our last flight and we’ve got to duct tape it back together…. but… those things sound scary and hard to explain, so “There are ‘storms’ in Chicago.” (I don’t really know how it all works, but I’m 99.9% certain this is not how it works.)

I tried to imagine a scenario where I walked up to the counter, pulled out my iPhone and said: “Um… excuse me? Hi. Yes.” *shoves iPhone in their face* “According to my weather app here, it looks like there aren’t actually any storms in Chicago. See? If there were, you would see little-rain-cloud-icons, but there aren’t any. So…” *Points to phone, as if talking to my grandma* “Look – you can even scroll out to see the future forecast – this one can predict until 5AM tomorrow. And look! No rain! See?” 

I’m sure that would go over well. They would probably say, “You’re right! Thanks for bringing that totally-accurate-weather-app to our attention! Our high-tech-weather-checker-thing must be broken. Alright, ya’ll – hop on board!”

And then we would all die because the plane tried to land during a storm in Chicago. And the CEO of the airline would go on the news and say, “Yea, look, some girl told us it would be okay? She said this app on her phone was TOTALLY trustworthy. She looks at it every day to decide what she’s going to wear! You know, like jeans, or a sweater – And it’s only been wrong, like, ten percent of the time. We thought those were good odds!”

Are those not good odds? I guess not when you’re talking about crashing a plane and potentially killing hundreds of people. But still. I use it to determine if I need to wear a sweater on a chilly day – and it’s only been wrong ONCE IN AWHILE.

Willis Tower. 2018.

As soon as they made the announcement (for the third time), some guy wearing a suit who had been sitting by the window rolled his eyes and called out “FANTASTIC” in a tone that sounded like he was thinking of a different word other than ‘fantastic’. “When the hell are they going to get us out of here?” he asked to no one in particular. Even though the lady who made the announcement LITERALLY JUST SAID “hopefully we’ll be out of here by nine.” He must have missed that part, because so busy thinking about complaining and thrill that it must bring him. What an inconvenience. Freaking weather. FANTASTIC. 

People get super cranky when you start delaying flights.

“This is crazy,” He said. Again – to no one, really. It looked like he was sitting by himself, minus the poor strangers who had made the unfortunate choice to sit near him. “I’ve got to tell you,” he had to tell them, “I’m getting a little concerned that we won’t get out of here tonight.” 

I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t frustrated. I mean, I wasn’t talking-to-myself and shouting-obscenities frustrated – but still, I called my mom. I whined about the flight delay. And how “now I’m not going to get home until, like, midnight”. My mom is the only person I can whine to about a flight delay with the same gusto as if I’m a pioneer and my covered wagon just broke down. She won’t agree with me that it’s the end of the world, but at least she’ll listen and not judge me for the fact that I sound like an entitled, spoiled brat. “Now it’s going to be dark on the flight home and I don’t even have a book-light!”


Views from the 96th floor of the Hancock tower. 2018.

“Have you ever seen this?” He asked the blonde girl sitting next to him. I guess referring to the fact that we’d been delayed three times. He must have thought she looked like a seasoned flyer from way back. I thought she looked about nineteen.

“It happens.” She said, shrugging.

“Three times?!” He asked. “They’ve delayed us THREE times.” Like the rest of us can’t count. Also, what does he think she’s going to do about it? By George, you’re right! We HAVE been delayed three times! You’d better tell someone – I bet this is some sort of world record! (I’m sure it’s not.)

“I’m sure it happens.” She said again. Like, ‘oh well’. Something a normal/not-insane person would say.

“You’ve SEEN this happen?” He asked. This guy clearly wasn’t in the mood for her sensible, easy-going crap. He wanted to be MAD. And he wanted to tell everyone about how MAD he was. He wanted to be the next YouTube sensation: “Grandpa Loses It At Minneapolis Airport”.

I know, because the next thing he said was: “I’m about to lose it. You’re going to see me on one of those news stories, a viral video. ‘Grandpa Loses It At Minneapolis Airport’.” 

The girl smiled politely. “Yes, I’m sure that would go viral,” she said. Then she got up and moved over a few rows. (I mean, really. Can you blame her?)

Willis Tower. 2018.

Part of me wished he would stop talking. (Now he was just talking to whoever would listen. Addressing anyone in the vicinity as if they were already mid-conversation with him. Thankfully I was a few rows over pretending to be listening to my headphones.) And the other part of me was curious about what he was going to do next. Would he really cause a scene? And if he did, what would that scene look like? Would he just get up and start screaming and stomping his feet like a giant toddler? Would he go up to the counter and say, “We have been delayed THREE TIMES. And that is RIDICULOUS. And now I am MAD. And I insist that you change your mind and take us all HOME. NOW.” 

Again – I’m sure the crew would say: “Oh, you’re right! Sorry, sir. Alright, ya’ll – hop on board!” 

…and then we would all die because the plane tried to land during a storm in Chicago.

Yea, getting mad and causing a scene in situations like these are almost ALWAYS a SURE FIRE WAY to GET WHAT YOU WANT.

(Not. Didn’t his mother ever teach him not to throw temper tantrums?)


Willis Tower. 2018.

Eventually we did get home. All of us, even the crazy guy. Surprisingly they let him on the plane (even more surprisingly, no one tried to push him out of it once we were in the air).

I’m not going to pretend that a flight delay – especially three flight delays in a row – isn’t a frustrating thing. YES, we were supposed to get home at 9pm and ended up getting home after midnight. YES, it was annoying because I was really tired the next day when I had to get up and prep for a meeting. YES, I was bored on the plane because it was dark and I didn’t have my book light. All totally legit normal reasons to be annoyed.

But did anyone else threaten to become a viral YouTube sensation? Nope. The rest of us just made grumbly-“ugh” sounds and texted our boyfriends that we were going to be late. (or whoever was supposed to be picking us up). Because no matter how mad we were, that plane was not taking off until someone, somewhere, declared that it was safe to fly into Chicago.  And that “someone” was not going to be the crazy guy complaining about how inconvenienced he felt.

Your emotions can take over quicker than you think. Especially when you’re already stressed. You had a bad day at work – your emotions are already on HIGH because you’ve been trying SO HARD to keep it together all day… and then one little thing happens. Your significant other leaves a sock on the floor. Some jerk cuts you off in traffic. Your boyfriend asks if you have any rice at home while the two of you are grocery shopping, and you say yes, and he says “Are you sure?” And you say, “YES” and he says, “Are you REALLY sure?” And you say “YES! I just BOUGHT SOME the OTHER DAY. We have TWO BOXES OF RICE now because I didn’t KNOW we had any when I bought it the other day – so I bought MORE. So, yes, I’M SURE WE HAVE RICE AT HOME.” 

And then Kyle started laughing and said “Relax” because he was well aware of the rice debacle from the days prior when I came home and said, “Ugh! I wasn’t sure if we had rice or not. Oh well, now we have two boxes.” He thinks it’s funny to mess with me. He’s a funny, funny guy.

The point is – there are many things that happen every day, to every person, that are outside of our control. If you leave the house AT ALL, something out of your control will probably happen. But it’s up to you if you want to be the crazy guy threatening to become a YouTube sensation because of this inconveniencing thing that happened, or the girl sitting next to him who shrugs and says, “It happens.” 

Keep in mind – they both got on the plane. They both got home that night. And only one of them looked like an idiot. Food for thought.

How do you react when things go sour? What are some of the good things that you focus on to stay positive? Share your thoughts and stories in the comment section!


One thought on “Focus on the good.

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