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airport story


Robyn Openshaw - Mar 15, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links


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.

Posted in: Detox

18 thoughts on “airport story”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE this whole story! I was “hand gestured” by a a school bus driver today-and was so stunned…I just ignored him. I wish now that I HAD madly waved and smiled:) You, my friend- are an awesome example of just how the world should react to negative energy!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I assume Frowny was having a bad day and I hope your having fun gave her something to think about. I hope she found some fun and laughter in it too and gave her a better day.

  3. Robyn-

    That’s AWESOME! YOu made my day just by sharing it. Thanks:)

    Maria

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love this story. Wish I could have been there to watch the fun.

    I like Robyn’s comment that she was probably extremely constipated; that just started a whole other round of laughing. After getting off to a bad start today now I am grinning from ear to ear. Thank you for sharing this hilarious story.

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Well, that wasn’t my comment . . . it was Kim’s . . . .

  5. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, that is such a great story! And I think I know which chairs you’re talking about. 🙂 I’m not even surprised she wanted a little spot of her own on the chair–or on your lap, I suppose.

    What Laura said is so true! I thrive (or try to, at least!) in embarrassing situations because I know it’ll become a fantastic story eventually.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Not giving up her seat:

    What I appreciated most about the story is that Robyn did not just break contact with the woman to defuse the situation. Taking a stand begins at home in our everyday situations. It’s important. Courage is hard but we can take baby steps even if we’re not as brave as Robyn.

    Dangerous – not in this case.

    Yes, it could have been dangerous, but that is where our intuition comes in. I like to think that Robyn’s radar is good and she got the go-ahead inside somewhere. Maybe in another situation she might act differently while keeping her seat. Maybe move to the next seat. (I can see the lady moving over seat by seat as Robyn moved!)

    Misplaced compassion.

    To those who make the argument that Robyn’s response was ridiculing the woman and compassion would have “helped” her I say this. Consider the great lengths this woman went to to control Robyn and her daughter and where they were seated – berating a complete stranger, going to the security guard, technically assaulting Robyn, using verbally abusive language. Any ridicule she received she can take. She could have softened up when Robyn “reciprocated” and leaned back, but she did not.

    Future congresswoman

    As far as being helped, the woman may think twice next time which is the best “help” she could get in this situation. People who behave badly depend on the good manners of others to get their way. Just as Robyn’s actions may make this lady reconsider an attack on the next person (who knows?), we have rights and standing up for them is the only way to keep them for everybody. (Can you see this control-freak in Congress?) Hurrah, Robyn!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, Thank you so much for the laugh today! I can’t wait to share it with my husband tonight!

  8. Anonymous says:

    LOVE IT!!!! Gotta try it sometime.

    My 3 year old kept asking why I was laughing *smile*.

    Thanks for a nice perk. Love the rest of your stuff too, btw.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I taught my son to handle a bully at his school by acting the opposite of how he felt. When the bully approached him on the playground my son broke out in song; singing happy birthday at the top of his lungs and drawing attention to himself!

    Other children chimmed in and one of the teachers, with that many people watching my son the bully backed off.

    My son learned that feeling don’t have to dictate our reactions.

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Love this!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I’ve been reading the comments about your “Frowny story” and realizing that your Green Smoothie fans are a beautiful bunch of spirits, with a good intuition for the spirit of play just like you. I’t uplifting to know that the frownies of the world are not going to win with a gang like this around. Kim’s comment was beyond hilarious. Addie

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Addie, I agree!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Robyn,

    What a great way to handle an ugly act. Way to go. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Anonymous says:

    That’s funny!

  13. Robyn,

    Thank your for writing your story! It seems as though it is not about nutrition. I think that essentially it is. My experience has been that since becoming vegetarian 2 years ago, I am not only more keen to what is going on with other people, but I am much more able to react to all kinds of situations in a way that benefits everyone involved. It is not that with this change I have a perfect life. I just want more harmony, health, light, love and light in my life. Doing things, like eating well, (there are others, of course) help bring it about for me and for the good of everyone I come into contact with. I dare say Robyn you are who you are and you live what you teach. Frowny brought an opportunity for you to share yourself with the world even more than before.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is something I truly need to learn. Thank you for sharing! Hugs Ketena

  15. Anonymous says:

    It was fun to find your blog. We have lost an amazing amount of weight using chia. In fact everyone we know wanted to know how we did it so we started our own blog-www.chiachicks.com.

    Will continue checking in here for recipies etc.

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