The last one on the plane, ugh, is an unenviable position. The only seat available is surprisingly in the front row, the Bulk Head middle seat. All the other passengers have walked by and as the very last passenger boarding the plane, the only choice was that smooshed seat. Arms stretched straight by my side. Other arms already occupied the rests. My body felt stressed.
A place was still needed for my bag. This meant walking halfway towards the back of the plane and then asking a traveler if he would mind moving his small backpack to the space below. No words were spoken. Only a glare accompanied a new space in the overhead area. My maroon bag was hurriedly launched onto the shelf. Done.
A lady in the opposite Bulk Head seat watched my every move. What interested her? She observed every action. Did she notice some aggravation? Probably. Why couldn’t she just leave me alone, give me space to work through the small, inconsequential inconveniences?
We can become agitated by being with strangers in a small space, constrained and “trapped” for a length of time. It’s not necessary to feel bad about these feelings – we’re not perfect and no one enjoys stuffy air and crowded conditions. Little annoyances can get the better of us sometimes, and we don’t have to be traveling to experience these negative feelings.
Here are some suggestions for the next time you run up against the “last seat dilemma”, feeling trapped by a situation and struggling to find your better self!
Compassion For ten seconds before speaking wish the other person happiness in your mind! Share some compassion with a fellow human being. Wishing others well in our minds is not something we practice regularly, if at all! Such a simple way for shifting a challenging situation and or conversation. There was a reason that no one was sitting between the two passengers. Wait until you’ve wished the person next to you well (in your mind) before speaking. We become what we pay attention to!
Patience It can be difficult to muster. Smooshed in a middle seat, hardly able to breath, all my senses challenged…Chill out! Close eyes, breath and understand that nothing stays the same. Wait a few moments and the discomfort will morph and or change all together. It’s better to let negative energy move versus acting out and embarrassing yourself. Nothing stays the same! Feelings can change.
No Idea! We sometimes garner ideas about people that are not based on reality. It’s rare that we can really ever fully understand what is happening in another person’s life. When meeting strangers in particular, we have no idea where they’re coming from and or what their lives might be like. Interactions can be quite quirky! For example, we will never know why one person might stare at another! Yes, our mothers taught us not to stare but it might happen anyway. Forgive and move on. It’s more kind and is a better way of dealing with our lack of knowing.
Undoubtedly there will be times in life, while traveling, and or at work, when our space and self feels restricted. It’s ok. When we draw on humility, patience and compassion for others our challenges will change and morph.
The plane was half empty before it was possible to retrieve my bag. Passengers struggled to move out of the row with their many things in tow. Slowly, one by one, each person started down the center aisle towards the exit. A fellow passenger saw me waiting and grabbed my bag, gently placing it next to me. All in! His kindness reminded me that we’re on this journey together!