|Headphones - Not A Perfect Solution|
Gearing up for more travel, I found some writing I had intended to post a few months ago. I had cruised through two flights using my Fun, Flexibility, and Props. And in one moment, panic. Oh yeah.
I think this is sort of the sink or swim aspect of travel. Sometimes you can't make a situation feel better. Sometimes you can't adapt, adjust, block it with headphones, or wipe it with a handiwipe. Sometimes it just sucks.
I got my first real "hit" for the trip. It's amazing it took that long, and I ought to be patting myself on the back. Third flight of the day. Third. Airplane is filling up, and we are getting ready to go.
And the person behind me coughs. Very loudly.
Before I can "insert a contrary and positive cognition" I am seized with a jolt of fear. I am contaminated, and will spend a five hour flight sitting three feet away from this person. I am doomed.
That all goes through my head in a flash. I can feel the heat in my skin like a burn, and my hands are clammy. I try not to show my reaction on my face, but by the time I realize what I'm doing, I have my head bowed and am rocking in my seat. Spouse notices, of course. And since he knows me, he also knows exactly why his 'normal' wife has just gone semi-catatonic. Terror is a good one word answer.
He leans in and says, "There are lots of reasons for someone to have a cough and not have something communicable."
I almost smile, as I see him trying to put in the positive cognitions that I am failing to generate. Instead I think - pandemic. Here I am right at the start. I should be honored. There are a ton of international people on this flight, and it's going start right here. Some SARS spread kinda thing. I am f#ck*d.
I have the presence of mind to realize as I think this just how incredibly self-centered fear can be. How cold it can make you. A cough does not bring up feelings of compassion, it brings up a desire to get away from the person as fast as possible. A strange war of nonsense and actual good reason. Cognitive dissonance, my good friend, nice to see you again.
As it turns out, the plane is not full. The entire row across from us is empty. My husband points, "We can move over."
I think hard, then look at him, "If you say it is rational to remain here, if you say that it is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, then let's stay. There are too many times when you can't get away. And if this isn't actually something you are worried about, let's stay."
And we did. Are. I'm typing this still sitting in the row in front of coughing lady. I've been working on lots of cognitions that say she has some kind of chronic cough or allergy, and isn't sick at all. And then I turned to the travel props. Bose headphones, with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cranked up. Can't hear a d@mn thing, now.
Well, nothing like a dose of real life. Prepare and then just deal. Guess you can't do any better than that when traveling. I'll note that I did not get sick on that trip. Not that I expect logic to work on me next time ...
Your Hostess With Neuroses
Image credit/info: Kevin Lawver, My Headphones, on Flikr via Creative Commons, CC 2.0