Just a warning: today’s blog has nothing to do with nutrition. It’s just a funny story about something that happened in the Long Beach airport on the way home from Anaheim yesterday.
So Tiffani and I got there almost 3 hours before our flight was to leave. We’d been at a raw restaurant with lots of people from the show, raw foodie and earthy crunchy friends with dreadlocks and guitars, the night before, till late. And we’d been talking to people for 3 days straight. My vendors were there. My best friend and her parents from San Fran. One of my favorite readers, Tonya. A few of my former university students who came to hang out with me. A million people trying to get us to try their stuff. Skinny Bitch, the author. Heather Mills, the richest ex-wife in history. The Biggest Loser (who looks to have gained a few kilos). The whole show was a trip!
Point is, we were both in need of a cat nap.
So we saw these comfy chairs with no arm rests between them and we sprawled out. Each of us was taking up two seats. No big deal, in a room full of 250 chairs and about 10 people. Right? Well, you’d think.
A lady and her husband walked up. She had that frown-lined face that speaks of a lifetime of conflict and bitterness. She demanded: “ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE UP THAT WHOLE SPACE YOURSELVES?”
I said we were going to take a little nap. Tif pointed out that there were many chairs, all of them comfy, with hardly anyone in the waiting area. The lady became angry and demanded that we give her the seats. I said, very quietly to Tif, “I don’t think we should do something just because a bully wants us to.”
So Frowny Lady stormed over to a security guard. The guard came over with a triumphant Frowny and asked us, “Do you need that space?” We said yes, and the guard said to the lady, “Well I can’t MAKE them move,” and walked away.
At this point, I was finding the whole thing really amusing and I was fighting a case of the giggles. You know, the kind that you keep trying to suppress–you cover your mouth, you clamp your lips together–but it just going to come out no matter what! I think people who see a room full of hundreds of chairs and want the ONE and ONLY THE ONE someone else has–well, it seemed like great comedy at the time.
So an even funnier thing happened. Frowny stomped over and sat in MY seat, right up against me. She plopped down really hard, with a big “UMPH!” sound, to be extra obnoxious. Wiggled her fanny around to really settle in. Not in the seat next to me, mind you, but IN MY SEAT WITH ME.
Every point of the side of her body was in total contact with mine.
Well, here’s the thing. I love to defuse situations like that by doing what I call THE OPPOSITE. The opposite of what most people would do. The opposite of what is expected. The opposite of instinct.
When I make a driving error and someone flips me off, I employ THE OPPOSITE. I wave enthusiastically as if the person giving me The Bird is a close friend I am thrilled to reconnect with, on the road. (Warning: your children will be mortified by this.) (Tip: do this while thinking of someone you would truly love to see in the other car.)
The person who made the obscene gesture is completely taken off guard. At first they are startled and think (watch carefully and you can see this thought register on their face), “Oh no! I just flipped off a friend!”
Then they see they really don’t KNOW me, and they become very annoyed, because they’ve failed in their goal to make me angry. Instead I’m obviously just stupid in my giddiness to say hello, grinning ear-to-ear.
Back to the airport story. Doing THE OPPOSITE came in handy.
I imagined her being my grandma, whom I like very much. I snuggled into her–burrowed, really–and put my head on her shoulder, closed my eyes. Took a long, leisurely breath. A contented sigh, really. This was going to be an even better nap than I’d get stretched out! Perfect!
This did not, however, go over big. She said:
“DON’T. F’ING. TOUCH. ME.”
Tiffani, whose jaw had been hanging open ever since I decided to enjoy my lovely, soft, Frowny pillow, finally spoke, indignantly:
“But you’re touching HER!”
Well, Frowny got up and stormed off. Everyone in the room laughed so hard, and so long, that very frankly the whole event was worth the stress. Laughter is like raw food, and oxygen–it’s just GOOD FOR YOU!
One woman, an hour later, came over and cozied up to me IN MY CHAIR just like Frowny had, and then cracked up and went back to her chair. One guy couldn’t stop laughing for about 20 minutes. Other people showed up, and they were told the story, and everyone got to enjoy it over and over.
It was great fun. Try it sometime. Do THE OPPOSITE. Anger is toxic. It’s really fun to defuse it.
My friend Laura once said, “Everything that happens is good. Either it works out well, or it makes a great story.” Hope you enjoyed mine.