Subourbon Mom

The “Plane” Truth on Mindful Thinking

There are too many people in this world, and most of them found ways to annoy me last weekend while I was traveling by air from Texas–especially the fake cowboy who walked through the Houston airport with his jeans tucked into his boots (the Marlborough Man would have been so ashamed). There were the usual delays and morons who couldn’t figure out how to go through security on the first try.  But one bright spot? Airport food has gotten surprisingly healthier.

On one of the longer flights, I was offered a Mediterranean tapas-style snack to purchase that cost more than I make per hour; I splurged. Added bonus: I was pretty sure no one would sit next to me on the next flight if I ate the olives and fancy, garlicky cheese.

Since I’d lately been reading about mindfulness (the act of being present in the moment, and focusing entirely on one thing at a time), and I had LOTS of time on my hands, I decided to try to bring down my stress levels by savoring each cracker smeared with garlicky cheese. I chewed slowly, letting the crumbs dissolve in my mouth, trying to identify each herb as it hit my palate (garlic was at the top of the list—the other passengers LOVED me).  I felt the way the cracker pieces gummed up between my teeth and resisted the urge to start picking at them; instead, I made those weird faces people make when they run their tongue over their teeth to dislodge an article of food.  I’m pretty sure my lips looked like there was a gerbil running around under there.

I pressed another glob of cheese onto a cracker with the teeny-tiny spoon they provided that looked like it had been stolen from a Polly Pocket set.

Then, the next cracker shattered. Not into a few pieces I could cup in my hand or pick out of my lap, but into a billion tiny specks that hurtled themselves across the cabin and behind me in a hail of Focaccia shrapnel. I didn’t look up, but I could hear people mumbling and shifting around, brushing crackers off of their laptops and phones.

In an instant, I had gone from being mindful, and feeling somewhat superior as I did it, to being mortified and wondering if the lady next to me knew she had cracker crumbs on her cheek (she didn’t—it stayed there the rest of the flight).  I didn’t have the nerve to tell her.

So, I fell back t playing my favorite flying game: Who on this flight would survive on an island if we crashed? Who would be the hero and open the emergency exits? Most of the passengers were elderly (South Texas is like Steven Spielberg’s Cocoon in the winter), so not much help there.  Maybe the ex-football player with the Baptist bible camp shirt on—at the very least, he might be able to put in a good word.  The old biker dude with the mutton chops? Not likely, but based on his tattoos he might be handy with a needle if I needed stitches.  People with kids—forget it. They’d be useless, instinctively protecting their spawn.  My best bet was the pudgy guy wearing cammo, who looked like he would be on the rescue squad, and the skinny lady who looked like a doctor or pharmaceutical rep; either way, one would have training, or one would have good drugs.

Scouting out my fellow passengers may not have exactly been “mindful thinking,” but it did give me a mind full of other things to think about.


2 Comments so far
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Great story, Libby. Plane travel is getting to be way too hazardous – and I’m not talking about the plane falling out of the sky. sd


Comment by energywriter

Thanks Sharon! Sorry for the delay in replying–been swamped over here. Hope you’re enjoying the balmy weather!


Comment by libbyhall

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