Last night I could see my breath standing in the O’Hare terminal. That’s right, the terminal. When it came time to board they had us go in small groups and encouraged us to move quickly down the jet bridge. As we ran into the plane I heard the flight attendant remark, “I have never seen a group of passengers board so efficiently.” Well, when you can see your breath in the terminal, when you catch snow inside the jet bridge (while still seeing your breath), and when it’s single digits outside no one messes with the boarding process. No one.
What was amazing about this whole process was that while people were shivering and wearing their coats inside the plane as it was being de-iced, we were happy. Why were we happy? We knew that within a short time, 2 hours and 55 minutes to be exact, we would be stepping off the plane in West Palm Beach. When we arrived the weather was a lovely 69 degrees (cool for this area), and we knew that this brief trial would only lead to something great.
Now don’t worry, I’m not going to attempt to make some sort of lame spiritual connection about how the trials of life may be hard (like a freezing jet bridge) but in the end we land where it’s Sunny and 57 degrees. No, aside from the fact that I see theological flaws with that argument, we’ve all heard this analogy enough and don’t need to hear it again.
However something else struck me on the plane (which may or may not lead to spiritual applications). Our flight attendants from the time we boarded were crabby. While the captain explained to us that the plane was being de-iced and it would be a while passengers didn’t see the need to turn off their cell phones quite yet. And understandably so. Why not continue the conversation with a coworker, friend of family member… we’re not leaving for another 30 minutes and therefore the frequency can in no way interfere with the function of the airplane (which was disproved on Myth Busters for those interested…)
But our flight attendants were increasingly frustrated by this lack of following rules. As an avid rule follower myself (I turned off my phone immediately upon sitting down), I understand their frustration.
However, what proceeded was annoyance at everything passengers did. And how did I know they were annoyed? I witnessed all of the flight attendants interact with a passenger, and then lift their head up and roll their eyes. Young man hasn’t turned off his ipod yet… eye roll. Older man takes too long to say goodbye to his family on the phone… eye roll. Another woman doesn’t understand that her Amazon Kindle should be turned off along with her cell phone (because she doesn’t fly much and the flight attendant only asked that cellular phones be turned off)… eye roll. Ladies continue talking while safety instructions are going on (which, let’s be honest, happens ALL THE TIME)… eye roll. Cute little barely 3 year old girl traveling with her grandfather wants to sit in his lap instead of in the chair beside…eye roll. And they kept coming.
Though I never personally received the dreaded roll, I was offended on everyone’s behalf.
So why waste the time writing the story? As someone who works with people of all shapes and sizes–adults, children, youth, infants– I understand how they can be frustrating. I really do. And I’m sure after a long day of work the Flight Attendants had encountered their share of crabby passengers. People can be frustrating at times and not even Mother Theresa would argue with that. However, eye rolling? Really? Is that the best grown-up response with the people that you are paid to work with aggravate you?
And I don’t think there are any spiritual applications. I just had to get it out. Eye rolling is always a bad idea. Whether you’re a 5th grader, teenager, 4 year old or middle-aged flight attendant.