“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything and it is open to everything.” – Shunryu Suzuki
Lately I’ve been spending time in silence, letting my mind wander. On the way home from work, I used to either listen to music, a podcast, or an audiobook. Now, 80% of the trip is silence. I think isolation helps creativity. Especially when you have nothing but your thoughts.
If you want to know what an hour is like inside my ADD head, here are my thoughts while at an airport, up until the flight took off.
I forgot how much I love neck pillows. On my honeymoon, I wore my neck pillow during the entire flight and continued to wear it through customs in Jamaica. You don’t see many people wearing neck pillows outside of planes an airports. If it were socially acceptable, I’d probably bring one to work or keep one on hand during long baseball games.
If it’s acceptable to wear neck pillows in airports, I’d consider working at an airport, though I don’t think neck pillow privileges transfer over to employees at airports. You can wear one in pretty much any context in an airport: walking, sitting, napping, or while anxiously waiting to board the plane. You’d never see someone sitting on a park bench wearing a neck pillow. They likely fear social judgment and bringing the neck pillow could be a hassle, unless of course they wore it the whole time.
While using the bathroom, I was forced to use a stall since the urinals were occupied. On top of the metal container that secures the toilet paper, I noticed an empty Mentos wrapper. Clearly someone ate Mentos to freshen up while or after using the toilet. I don’t think anyone would carry around a candy wrapper and choose that place for disposal. Likely someone was forced to use the airport restroom out of necessecity and was in dire need of feeling fresh.
I bought gum before the flight. I had to because I had a sparking green tea lemonade from Caribou, which is a phenomenal drink, but left me with the impression that I should stand at least 2-3 feet away from people while talking directly to them. The little kiosk where I bought the gum only had two selections: kiosk brand and a package that mentioned starving children. Both were poor gum choices, but I decided to help the kids. The pack of gum was the flat rectangle with punch out pieces. It’s fun to push out the gum, but the package makes noise while in pockets. I generally prefer my gum packaging to be silent. There’s no need to remind myself with every step that I’m carrying gum in my right pocket.
While paying for the gum, I forgot about sales tax. When the price of something is $2.99, I assume sales tax is going to be added. When the price is $3.00, as was the gum, I assume sales tax is inclusive. Due to this, the cashier reminded me that I couldn’t count properly and I owed her another bill. I left with 76 cents of change in my pocket, which is another thing that will make noise.
There are a lot of bald men at Gate 19 today. All of them except one either have a shaved head or a very short buzz cut. If one goes bald while relatively young, you pretty much have to shave or buzz your head. You just hope the rest of your head isn’t covered with moles, making your shaved head look like a chocolate chip muffin. I wonder what I’d do if I went completely bald. A lot of guys wear hats as they bald. I’ve only worn hats in short phases in high school and college. If the balding hit me full-force, it’s too late to start wearing hats. No one really starts wearing hats after college unless they are balding or they’ve just retired.
If you think experience doesn’t factor into purchase decisions, look at string cheese. 80% of the enjoyment that comes from string cheese is due to the peeling of the cheese. I once had string cheese that wouldn’t peel and ended up being just a cheese stick. It wasn’t very good. I wonder how big the string cheese industry is? I did a quick Google search, but nothing relevant came up. I’d guess it’s at least over 50mil/year.
Employees Using Scripts
I hate scripts. They don’t work. There is a big difference between hearing someone say something and believing what they say. Is the Delta employee at the gate sorry for and the inconvenience and grateful for our patience? I don’t think so. It sounds scripted. A robot might as well have said it. If your goal is to connect with people, you have to approach them as human to human, not training manual to human. The stewardess who gave me a free beer on the flight seemed sympathetic at least.
A guy getting off the plane from Chicago forgot his black suit coat on the plane. As he yelled to the flight attendant what item he left behind, as she headed back to the airplane, he progressively began to sound more furious, yelling “BLACK. SUIT. COAT.” He wasn’t mad, but he sounded mad due to volume.
I never heard someone use the word “stowed” outside of an airplane. Never. Yet, I heard the flight attendant use it at least 5 times in the scripted speech about making sure items are stowed before takeoff. “Honey, where did you put my car keys?” “ I stowed them back in your purse.” That conversation has never happened.
Turning Off Electronics
Why? This has to be a “Better safe than sorry” measure. I’ve never completely turned off electronics I bring with me. I’ll turn my cell phone into “Airplane Mode” but not completely off. The flight attendants even specify that “Airplane Mode” isn’t sufficient. Has a plane ever crashed due to a cell phone? I’ve been in a three seater airplane that had an iPad connected to 3G. Didn’t crash. If a plane is at risk of being brought down by a 7 year old who forgot to turn off his iPod, maybe I should be worried.
The pilot announced, “We might try to shorten up the trip to make up for the delay.” Why not do that anyway? Is there a scenic route that was voted on prior to boarding?
Airports and airlines don’t do much to deal with waiting. It’s up to you to pass the time. Some have TVs, today there was nothing. Maybe that was a good thing since I ended up writing over 1,000 words on observations, but probably not since everyone hates waiting. I have to believe there is a reason that waiting for a flight hasn’t been made more enjoyable. It’s not a valid reason, but someone has one.