Sunday, February 15, 2009

Air Travel, Taking Things Personally & A Free Pass

Sunday found me sitting on the tarmac at DFW airport waiting for an open gate, so our plane could taxi up and belch us out. I was returning from one of those re-occurring taking-care-of-family-stuff-trips and was just a smidge worried about my upcoming newspaper deadline, my yearbook pages still unsent, my purchase orders still undone and the topic of my blog post still undecided.

Jeez Louise, no wonder I stay so stressed.

I don’t know why I worried so. I should have learned by now that airports, airplanes and air travel in general provides as much fodder as a classroom filled with teenagers (although I find the teenage kind more amusing and their behavior more acceptable).

OK, so I’m squished into the middle seat way, way (did I say way?) in the back of a very, very full plane, and the woman next to me whips out her cell phone and starts gushing to someone about this fabulous book she’s been reading. (And sorry, Mr. Teacher, it’s not yours.)

The conversation went something like this…

“Blah, blah, blah, we’re the director, producer of our own lives…blah, blah, blah… we shouldn’t take things personally…blah…blah…blah…If someone points a gun to your head, don’t take it personally…”

I almost fell out of my seat (since I had illegally unbuckled my belt).

“Are you kidding me!” I almost screamed. “You better start taking things personally if someone has a frigging gun to your head! Are you a big, fat…”

(No, I didn’t say any of it although the bubble in my head was in overdrive.)

I realize I’m probably the only person on the planet who hadn’t heard of this little book, Four Agreements, until now. Guess I missed that episode of Oprah, but Holy, Moley Crack Fire, don’t ya think there are some things out there that one should just, well, I don’t know, take personally? You know, things like guns…pointing…at your head? (And, pah-leese, I don’t care if it was a metaphor. And, yes, I’m sure there’s probably much more to it than this little snippet.)

Still, all of that got me to thinking, and we all know what happens when that happens. I figured if guns pointing at one’s head shouldn’t be taken personally, well then, there’s lots of other things not to take personally… My short list included things like grades, yearbook pages, budget money, deadlines of any kind, eating mass quantities of anything, being late for anything, everything in the Things-That-Will-Get-You-Fired-Folder… me saying someone is dumber than a bag of cat hair…and so forth and so on…

You see, it sort of gives everyone a free pass, doesn’t it? Kind of like that get-out-of-jail-free card we love so much.

So I guess the next time a kid complains about his grade, I’ll just say, “Hey, don’t take it so personally.”

Yeah, that’s the ticket.


KK the Englishee Teacher said...

Although I could probably guess, I would love if you could share some items from the "Things that could get you fired" folder.

Mrs. B said...

I think I'll try that response. I'll let you know how it works.

Teacher Mom said...

I was thinking about this very same thing when reading a similar book about letting the ego go. As I was reading about how we all create our own reality and essentially decide how to react, I was asking myself if Jews (and others) in death camps created their reality! Are they supposed to just "let the bygones go" under the guise of letting go of the ego? While I think these theories have some value in terms of simple getting along with others (ie chose your battles), I think it is ridiculous to give other people's actions a free pass. I could not agree with you more.

Anonymous said...

Geez Louise, I haven't heard of Four Agreements either. The very idea! I have noticed that people do seem to think they can say or do just about anything, and no one should be upset. Just go with the flow.

Melissa B. said...

Dumber than a bag of cat hair? Jeez Louise, that's pretty durn dumb!

Curmudgeon said...

I LOVE "Four Agreements".

Especially after the History teacher leaned over during the Professional Development seminar six months ago, where we were busy "learning about these wonderful ways of treating each other and the students" and whispered ...

"He's a member of the Toltecs ... the Aztec priesthood who ripped out the living hearts of their victims and threw the parts down the pyramid steps. Now he's teaching us the 'ways of his people' and the way we should get along with each other."

Only in education.

askthehomediva said...

Yep… only in education… wow!