Friday, September 15, 2006

Travel delay


Pearson International Airport, Toronto, September 5, 2006, 2:25 p.m.

When the airline cancels your flight a few minutes before boarding and the agent at the gate is as rude and useless as can be, you have a number of choices:
  1. Go medieval on his sorry unionized persona.
  2. Slink meekly to the nearest phone and convince yourself that he's just having a bad day.
  3. Wait in line, but try to have a little fun in the process.
I think it's obvious which way I went. Po hangs off of my backpack on every trip I take. I do my best to photograph her somewhere in an airport. It's my way of signposting my travels and putting a somewhat human (OK, Teletubby?) face on what is typically a faceless, dehumanizing experience.

So in this, the longest and most chaotic lineup I've ever seen in an airport, I pulled Po off the bag and had her help me add a little perspective and levity to the moment. Elizabeth the ticket agent was gamely trying to direct the lines, and my fellow travellers seemed to take it all in stride. And a small red stuffed animal gave total strangers a reason to smile.

Your turn: How do you turn a bad situation into a good one?

35 comments:

daisy said...

What I like is everyone in the line is ignoring the fact that you are indeed holding Po up and taking her picture.

utenzi said...

I love that picture, Carmi, and you espouse such a great attitude there as well. I deal with adverse situations like that one by burrowing deep into thought. There's usually something I have to puzzle out at work and I can keep busy for quite a bit of time just pondering.

Michele sent me!

David said...

Po looks dangerous to me, and anyone weird enough to take pics of him/her/it in an airport could be up to something. I suspect you will be given special attention by the airport security screeners after they read your blog.

Rae said...

I try very hard to add a little humour in a bad or stressful situation... or I dance... I had a delayed flight on a trip once... so I danced... in the waiting area with my walkman on... I danced and didn't care... people pointed and they laughed... which made me smile and dance even more ;)

Moon sent me... sorta ;)

always nice to meet a fellow canuck...

barbie2be said...

you made the right choice! i usually try to find the humor in the situation.

here from michele's on this visit!

Elizabeth said...

Here from Michele.

Love the teletubby. My husband and do something similar... except we take pictures of a "wee little garden gnome" in random places.

to answer your question... when things get bad, i usually laugh at the angry people surrounding me. works especially well while standing in line at the DMV.

Thumper said...

Heh...that little Teletubby face...that's how I looked right after my surgery 4 years ago. Only I looked like Tinky Winky. It would have scared all the passengers in the airport... ;)

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

I'm with Rae. When in doubt, dance.

I dance everywhere: grocery store, Best Buy (get some odd looks THERE...hmmm), post office.

Always have my ipod on and usually dance!

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

hahah back again. Michele sent me this time.

Dawn Falcone said...

The picture is great! It even makes the dreaded airport seem bearable.

I must say that I'm a bit of a hot head, but I've greatly improved over the years. I take lots of deep breaths & always try to use humor. And I also try to remember that even if someone is being mean or negative to me, it truly doesn't really have anything to do with me personally. They probably are having a rotten day or something.

I'm here via Michele.

netchick said...

Hi from Michele's today!

Oh, this one's easy! Smile therapy. Even when I want to chew someone's head off (and lately, that's been a fair amount), I smile. Not just inside -- We're talking a wide grin that makes my insides feel better. Works 99% of the time.

Oh, and the person you are angry at? They get even more angry, or they choose to see the ridiculousness of the situation and smile too. Either way, I'm feeling better!

Dave said...

Hi Carmi, my wife and daughter work at Gatwick, one for BAA and one for BA so I get both sides of the story!
Airports are tricky places right now.
Here from MIchele's this time.

Annabelle said...

Love the pic.
I've realized that anger only puts up people's defenses and generally you never get your way. Hence giving "heck"... ahem. Laughing at compromising situations does help quite a bit, I have to say. But sometimes that can be really hard... but as long as you recognize this, I think you can safely say you're human. (Sorry this is rushed and I'm not sure if it makes complete sense!)

mominprogress said...

too funny. great picture.
here via Michele's today

barbie2be said...

Hi again, Carmi... here from Michele's again!

Peri said...

That's a good idea, wonder if a teletubbie would make me calm at the airport. :)
Like the cloud pics on your flikr badge!
btw, here via Michele

Azgreeneyes said...

What a creative way to use the Teletubbies! Did you get many strange looks at first?

Maverick said...

That's hilarious, a teletubby picture opportunity while you COULD be severely pee-o'd! Very Nice.

I try to turn bad situations into good ones by reminding myself that other (rude) people are on a different "spiritual path" than I am (how spiritual of me, huh?)...and I imagine myself running them over in a Huge Mack Truck. Heh. It makes me laugh, at least.

Michele sent me!

Paste said...

Grown Man with a teletubbie, whatever next :-)

Here from Michele's.

Steve said...

My solution to long lines: The paperback novel. Penguin 60's are the best for lines--little more than short stories. If that doesn't work there's only one other option.

"I'm crushing your head!"

Boy said...

Here from Michele.

Well normally in a bad situation I try to look for the silver lining. Like in your case, you got to take a cool picture which (as is obvious from the comments) lots of people enjoy. There's always a silver lining, you just have to look hard enough. :)

Mike said...

Great Picture. No problems getting a teletubby through security? She looks kind of suspicious LOL.

Michele sent me.

jsdaughter said...

how cute! well, if i have my laptop with me i go look at pictures by carmi... if not, i take a nap..

atpanda said...

I have to tell you, the Teletubbies totally creep me out. I mean really, have you WATCHED THAT SHOW?! Creep.y.

That said, in a bad situation (and traveling always makes bad situations WORSE), I find if I just convince myself to let go, I feel better. Does that sound dumb? I mean in a situation like you were in, there's not much you can do. So if you just realize that you're kinda at the mercy of others, there's less of that desire to fight the man.

Hey! Michele sent me.

tommy said...

How do you turn a bad situation into a good one?

There are no bad or good situations, there are just things that happen. That way you don't have to turn something bad into something good, you're merely discovering what happened today. You knew something was going to happen when you woke up, you just didn't know what, now you know.

convince yourself that he's just having a bad day

If he's dealing with a canceled flight, I promise he's having a bad day. The fact that there are gate agents not in prison for multiple homicides is one of the most astonishing things in the world. I don't have a clue how they do it.

Michele sent me.

ChaCha said...

thats too cute about your little red friend making people smile lol

Rhodent said...

humor... gotta have it most days just to survive!

srp said...

Here from Michele.

In a bad situation, I try to have patience and work on the problem. I don't know how people at the airport do it, everyone is so rushed to get somewhere and travelers are often very rude to the gate workers and those behind the ticket counter.

Shane said...

i imagine myself exploding then i feel so much better.

moon said...

I try to be calm. No need to blow up when it usually never changes things anyway. Time and place lol.
For the most part, if in a similar situation as yours, I have in past enjoyed talking with others in line...hear about their travels..comizerate some but mostly pass the time trading life stories with strangers passing in an airport. Ends up being a blessing and always interesting.
Here via Michele's today..

kenju said...

One way to turn a bad situation into an even worse one is to get mad/rant and rave. That usually solves NO problems and makes things worse, especially in an airport. We all have trouble occasionally when we travel, and if we are on a deadline, delays can be very frustrating. Most of the time, there is nothing we can do to change it - so we have to "go with the flow" and settle in to think about how the silver lining might show up for that cloud.

Michele sent me.

J said...

I like the idea of capturing your travels this way. Whenever I am being impatient with a situation (quite frequently!) I tell myself that where I am at the moment is exactly where God wants me to be and who am I to question God.

Grins said...

I flirt with the agent...works wonders. And Po, hmmm should I be concerned that you know the names of the Teletubbies let alone posess one? Michele says hi from her extended vacation.

Killired said...

that is so funny that you took that pix and no one is looking at you weirdly... wondering why in the heck is that strange man taking a pix of a teletubby!!!!

i deal with situations like that by knowing and understanding that some things are meant to be and that in those situations, there is usually nothing i can do about it so why get all upset and po'd over it when it will all work out in the end!

Jennifer said...

I think I would have gone medieval. You're a better person than I am ;)