Today, Jamie and Shannon—their houses and neighborhoods hit by an ice storm, downing their electricity, heat, Internet, and phone service—ask us for our stories of holiday disaster.
I’m lucky that nothing like that has happened to my family at Christmas time! The closest is the snowstorm that impeded everyone’s flights home from Christmas at O’Hare airport in Chicago. We were all waiting for hours as they kept delaying flights before finally canceling them, and then there were long lines to rebook. People were absolutely livid and were on their cell phones complaining to their friends and their airlines, and the poor people at the rebooking desk were on the receiving end of everyone’s frustration.
I was lucky: I had the latest Harry Potter book (and this was late enough in the series that it was going to last me a good long while!) and my parents could come and get me, house me overnight, and bring me back the next day. Plus somehow, I had the sneaking suspicion that a debilitating snowstorm in late December in Chicago probably wasn’t the fault of either the airline or its employees.
So I was happy reading, and when my turn came at the rebooking counter, I was sending a very different energy to the airline employee.
My reward? Threefold: I spent my hours in the airport happy rather than irritable, I spread calm and goodwill rather than hostility and resentment, and I got rebooked for business class rather than coach!
Moral: J.K. Rowling saves the day yet again.
Other moral: a good book, a sense of the realistic possibilities, a sense of perspective, a contingency plan, nearby friends and family, and goodwill are a great tool kit to have. And they serve you warm cookies in business class.