Travel is always entertaining. Well, frankly, it's often a pain in the neck but I prefer to see things as entertaining as it helps me get through the day. I had just spent three days with some of the most amazingly dedicated new administrators I had ever met. I boarded my flight from Newark, NJ last night, headed back to Tucson. The flight attendant was passing through the cabin, making sure all of us were settled and we had our dreaded electronics powered down for take-off.
Here's the conversation I heard, taking place two seats behind me.
Flight attendant: Are both of these your bags?
Lady: Yes, my dog is in one of them.
Flight attendant: So you have this bag here and one with your dog?
Flight attendant: Well, it's just going to have to go in the overhead bin.
Frantic lady: WHAT?? You want me to put my dog in the overhead bin?
Flight attendant: No, just one of your bags needs to go up there.
For the rest of us seated around the doggy scenario, it was fodder for laughing. I just read that adults laugh an average of 14 times a day. I think we all got our daily fill on this one. The flight attendant didn't seem to ever "get" that what she said was the culprit for the woman's frantic reaction and for our viewing pleasure.
Just for today, perhaps we should make our communication clear, so there are no misunderstandings.
While traveling for work last week, two of us found ourselves with the ability to go home a few hours earlier than we had originally anticipated. At about 5:00 in the morning, I called the airline I frequently use and asked about changing flights that afternoon. I had already looked online and saw there were tons of empty seats, so I figured it wouldn't be a problem.
The customer service agent who answered was very kind. She thanked me for my loyalty to the airline and said, "Let me see what I can do for you." I was excited to learn that my newly upgraded status would allow me to make the change without paying a fee. Yippee!! Rewards for the pain of being away from my sweet husband and precious dogs.
Not so fast.......
"I'm so sorry", said the very nice customer service agent, "I don't see any seats for this flight."
"Really?" I was confused. I not only saw about 15 open seats, some of first class was even open. "I just looked online and saw several open ones. I wonder what is the difference."
We clarified the time (3:54? yes), then she asked, "What day did you say again?"
I repeated, "Today's flight."
She stopped, and said, "Oh! I wasn't looking for today's flight. I thought you were looking at yesterday's flight."
Hmmmmm......please can I say it? Can't help it. I have to.
"Ummm....no, I don't need any seats on yesterday's flight. Just today's would be great."
She found me a seat and we were good to go, but it left me wondering whether I can truly make flight arrangements for the past. That sounds like a do-over-----something we sometimes wish we could do when we communicate with others.
Just for today, remember we don't always have a do-over and make every communication effort worthwhile.
I have said countless times, "It's not what you say but how you say it." While that is absolutely true, I also believe that sometimes we really need to think about what we say as well. Take, for example, the pilot on our flight this evening. We were "grounded" in Dallas, which pretty much equates to sitting on the tarmac for over two hours while awaiting to hear whether we will be able to take off due to microbursts in the area. There we sat, on the runway, while lightning and thunder reign supreme all around us. Finally, after two hours, the pilot came on and said these words (and I quote), "Well, good evening again folks, from the flight deck. We've just been told that they are letting one plane go. You might see it out the left hand side of your window taking off. We are being told to sit tight and wait to get a pilot report from the pilot of that plane. If the report is okay, they'll let us take off."
Hmmm....did he just say that plane over there is the guinea pig plane?
Is it a pilot test? little pun intended
We are not completely feeling the love right now.
We were wondering what sort of report might come back ,or not, that would determine the fate of our own flight.
But, best of all, the real wonder is: what did the pilot of the guinea pig flight tell his passengers?
(crackle, crackle---because you have to start with that noise): "Ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck. I just want to give you some really good news. After sitting on the tarmac for two hours, we are number one for take-off. Can I get a woop-woop? Just to let you know......the other planes aren't so lucky. Those guys behind us are all waiting to see just how great we do when WE take off and then maybe they get to follow suit. Maybe not....I guess we'll see.....little flight humor, folks."
I am hopeful we will make it to Detroit in time to do our training that is scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Just for today, perhaps we should consider and maybe even reconsider the words we use and think about whether they will instill faith or fear in the people around us.
I was at the dentist this morning. The dentist office is not my favorite place to visit, truth be told.
First time at this new dentist in Arizona.
The dental assistant asked me to sit down in the chair. I did. She then proceeded to say these words to me, "I am going to need to hire you." I cocked my head to the side and said, "What?" "Hire you", she repeated. I laughed and said, "Oh heavens, I have more jobs than I need, but thanks," thinking to myself: I don't care about being here one minute longer than I have to, much less work there! She cocked her head to the side, and said, "What?" I shook my head, clearly seeing we had a communication issue. "Let's start over" I said.
She smiled and pointed to the chair and said, "I need to hire you", but all of a sudden, the realization came to me that she meant to lift the chair up. She wanted to "higher" me. Wowee......
I really needed to seek first to understand before being understand. I admit I am just grateful I am not being drafted to work at the dentist office. At this point in life, I am just not certain I need another job.
For the rest of the dental appointment, I found myself humming "You raise me up......"
Just for today, seek first to understand. It will help, I assure you.
In between major work events, I truly enjoy cooking for Dave, although those times are so few and far between, he probably doesn't believe it In fact, when we moved from our house in Florida (which we had built and lived in for ten years), he told the real estate agent selling our home to advertise the kitchen as "unused". Ha-ha.
I was trying out two new recipes today, one for dinner and one for dessert, both which called for "zest", the dinner one needing zest from an orange; the dessert needing zest from a lemon (both recipes, I stole from people on facebook, by the way.
The orange went great and my chicken is marinating nicely in it right now. The lemon zest? Not so great.
Did you know that when you are zesting a lemon, it is possible, and even quite probable, to zest your finger as well?
And about the time you realize you have zested your finger, the realization that the original zesting was with a very sourLEMON hits you, as well.
I communicated quite effectively, I think. Too bad Rudy, our youngest Lab, is very tender-hearted and thinks any loud noises are in response to her doing something wrong. Okay, I may have let out a little shriek as the lemon zest and juice met with my open wound from said "finger zest".
Poor Rudy----she tucked her tail (not exactly sure what she thinks that is going to help) and her ears pinned down to her head. So, not only do I have to calm my own self, I have to calm her fears as well. "It's okay, baby, Mama is fine. Nothing a little more screaming won't cure", I cooed, as I secretly thought to myself, "See, this is why I don't cook".
Just for today, perhaps we can all share our zest for life.
Communication really matters, doesn't it?
Misunderstandings occur on an everyday . It's what we do after the miscommunication that really matters, right?
Yesterday, Dave and I went to brunch together. Between the times I am out of town lately and then the fact that he was out of town all last week, we were so grateful to spend time together. The waitress took our drink order. Water for Dave. Diet coke for me. The waitress came back with our drinks, set them down, and looked at me and said, "Just one diet coke for you?" Both Dave and I cocked our heads to the side, and he laughed and asked, "As opposed to what?" She couldn't figure out what she had said incorrectly. Then she got it. This time she said,"Oh, I meant, I know you want a diet coke" to me and then she looked at Dave and said, "I just wondered if you wanted anything else besides water?" We all agreed it sounded funny, though, to hear it the way she said it.
We all laughed and enjoyed spending brunch time together. Dave tipped her well for her good service AND her good humor in being able to laugh at herself.
Contrast that with a conversation I had with someone with whom we do business about my new business. We have entrusted him to help keep our new corporation straight. I looked on my bank statement the other morning and was TOTALLY surprised to see a huge amount withdrawn to the IRS. "Taxes", he told us when I frantically texted and called and almost screamed, "How did this happen? Why didn't I know the amount? Why didn't I know when this was going to happen? Oh and by the way, this is like a 50% tax ---that is Crazy!" His reaction was "Oh, I didn't know how much you wanted me to take out." and "Oh, I sent an email but to the wrong address"
Does anyone hear the major problem (besides the fact that we had way too much taken out from my business account for taxes??) I was the one frantic---with the problem----and he was not taking any responsibility for the problem.
Wouldn't it be nice if every time we had a miscommunication or problem, both parties too equal responsibility for the miscommunication and for making it better?
I believe we can make this happen. If, each time we have a miscommunication, we can ask ourselves, "What was my part in this?" and address that, perhaps people wouldn't end up so frustrated, and both parties could end up laughing and enjoying time like we did at brunch.
Just for today, perhaps think about how you might contribute to a potential (or actual) miscommunication and