Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Happiness at altitude

Fun finger food
Somewhere in the stratosphere, March 2011
About this photo: Thematic explores "happiness is..." this week. You can, too, by clicking here.
Airline travel has devolved significantly from its early days, when taking to the skies was seen as a sumptuously glamorous act largely reserved for those who could afford it. Kids aspired to be pilots, parents wore suits, ties and dresses, and a trip on a plane was special, an event in and of itself.

Today? Not so much. Post-9/11, post-shoe-bomber, post-post-Osama Bin Laden security protocols have turned a trip through the airport into something that would make a dairy cow feel right at home. We no longer travel as much as we run an endless gauntlet of security checkpoints, surly airline employees and automaton-like flyers who, just like you, simply want to arrive more or less on time and more or less in one piece.

Depressing as it seems, I don't much subscribe to the notion that we have to be powerless victims of this new aviation world order. We can't do anything about latex glove-wearing security agents feeling up our privates because we dared to forget to remove the toothpaste from the outer pocket of our carry-on bag, but we can still try to find joy along the way.

So as I sat in my window seat on the way home and idly stared at my little baggie of complimentary pretzels, I decided to see whether or not the bag contained enough pieces to make a happy face. As you can see, I came up slightly short, but I still managed to carve out five minutes of relative innocence before I had to start filling out my customs form and otherwise prepare for the next drudge-filled slog through the airport.

I know the lady next to me was staring through barely closed eyelids, pretending she wasn't paying attention when we both knew she was. But if my playing-with-food moment gave her a slightly light-hearted moment in the middle of an otherwise dark experience, it was well worth it.

And, yes, the pretzels tasted better. I'm not sure how.

Your turn: How do you find joy in the midst of places and times that seem to contain none?


Canadian Mark said...

For the moments that lack happiness, I focus on my munchkins and put a kid-friendly spin on things....

I think, "What absurd thing would Stella say about this situation?" or "How would Sebastien act here if was here and just ate a bag of skittles?"

I guaranteed to be smiling at the end of these scenarios.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the picture, I wondered... was it Carmi's creation or the creation of someone else? So glad it was you! :)
Happiness depends upon circumstance, but joy is a choice we can make. And clearly, you made the choice that day -- and you probably brought a little happiness to the lady sitting next to you, too!

missing moments said...

Happiness is within our own choosing. Even in the worst, a simple bloom on a branch can bring me joy.
Lovely words today.

Levonne said...

Hi Carmi, I have you under my "blogs I follow" list now on A Camp Host's Meanderings. Just updating for the first time months it must be. I like your post today. I'm working on myself right now, getting myself smiling and producing. I'm doing it mostly through writing gratitude and I am statements.