Airline Anxieties: The Aisle Runner

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You hear the announcement. You start to pack up your headphones and reading materials. Maybe you reach for your phone to finish arguing with your sibling about who's in charge of finding mom's birthday present. The plane stops at the gate, but you remain seated. Why? Because you know that it's going to take five to so minutes for the flight attendants to get the door open, followed by another five minutes for the passengers ahead of you to deplane. Especially since your economy class ticket has you seated nervously in the back, directly over the wing. 

You feel the tingle of anxiety growing stronger as the people around you begin shifting. Someone makes the first move. Then soon after, everyone is popping out of their seats and into the aisle like they've hit an ejection button in unison. Perhaps their legs are tired, but you know everyone is trying to avoid the same thing... 

You too would like to stretch your legs, but you can't. Why? Because you hesitated and now two or three of the twelve passengers seated behind you have already bulldozed their way up the aisle and are posted up right next to you.

What's infuriating about this is that you shouldn't have to bolt out of your seat for the opportunity to walk the aisle at the appropriate time. Number order is established well before you've even stepped onto the plane. Your ticket tells you which zone you'll enter through. Then your seat row and number explain equally how you'll sit and how you (should) exit. 5 before 6 and well, B before A, but you know what I'm saying. It's not difficult. 

In the past I've been tempted to ask one of these Olympic sprinters if they actually believe they are saving themselves any significant amount of time, now two rows up from where they've started.  Because in my experience, these are the same people who, because of being one of the last to board, had to check their carry-on bags gate-side. So, after they plow past you, you find them waiting for their luggage on the jet bridge as you casually stroll past them. Not rolling your eyes or smirking or anything like that. No, you wouldn't. 

I wish I could say that after all my travels this little infringement didn't still get to me. But truth be told, I get anxious about it as soon as the pilot starts announcing our decent. I start pondering how many antsy-pants are possibly seated behind me. How many of them will push themselves past the feeble couple trying to take down their overhead luggage, ignoring both the opportunity to lend a hand as well as the established system of deplaning in an orderly fashion? 

The goal of this series is to assist fellow travelers in alleviating stress during a time that is typically designated for enjoyment. Who wants to start off a vacation in a sour mood? However, I don't have any tried and true steps to completely mitigate this one as I'm not entirely past it myself. I was not awakened to how much work I needed to do in this particular area until about a year ago, when I actually stuck my arm out across the aisle way at a passenger who was attempting to reject my entry. That was an embarrassing and eye-opening moment for me. My vain hope that bringing someone's rudeness to their attention with a harsh maneuver of my own would somehow spark an eternal change in them. That perhaps this person never realized how inconsiderate their behavior was until my brazen act of law enforcement revived them. Ha! I really did foolishly believe this at one point. 

But one thing yoga has taught me is that enlightenment isn't about changing other people. It's about changing yourself and your reaction to those people or things which irritate you. For years I've tried to tell myself it's not worthy of my discomfort. What has helped is finding a bit of humor in the situation. In both the people acting a fool and in myself for noticing such a fleeting moment. It can be challenging; to form a smile directed at the discourteous line cutter. Since it's usually someone sliding past you with their ear buds still in, avoiding eye contact with everyone they know they are aggravating. Try it anyways.

On my next flight I may try singing (internally, for everyone's benefit) Frozen's anthem to aid in my attempts to "let it go." 

If you share in this anxiety or have found a way to rise above... let me know in the comments below!