Having fun in airport delays…

We sat on the plane for hours, hot, thirsty, waiting for take off…
Deplane…. Flight delayed due to a broken airplane part.
“Stuck” in an airport in a strange city for another 8 hours while a new part arrived and was installed. Traveling with my friend, Jackie, and a group of artists… on a 10 day trip and we were losing a whole day… 10% of our time in Peru.
Watching and listening as throngs verbally attacked the airline personnel with angry words and threats of dire consequences, we looked at each other and laughed. Life is always an adventure!
We expressed our gratitude, actually thanking the airline staff for finding the problem BEFORE we were in the air. Seemed like angels were watching over us. The airport? JFK International.

While others groused and complained, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity…
Eight hours in an airport with nothing to do, nowhere to go. The airline provided fruit juice. The airport provided art and lots of angry hostile people… And there we were, two 30 something Pollyanna’s in heaven!

Seizing the opportunity to have fun on our long awaited trip, NO MATTER WHAT, we decided to create an impromptu guided art history tour of the airport for ourselves. We walked and talked and shared our knowledge of the art and artists. At first we laughed about how many people wondered who those two wacky women were…lauhing, pointing, dancing around to get different views… People started following us, joining the “tour”…We laughed and talked with total strangers about what they saw in the paintings and sculpture. We were asked a lot of questions, by total strangers, about the art, if we were airport staff, why we were doing this, were we curators… We asked a lot of people where they were from, where they were going, did they visit museums where they lived?
We were excited to be in the presence of art, not in a museum. We were excited to be able to stand in front of a huge Ellsworth Kelly painting, under a Calder mobile (Flight), up close and personal, soaking up the calm of color and shapes and balance, it was soothing. Order in the midst of chaos.
Families with children stopped and listened, so we asked kids about colors and shapes, we played eye spy, using art as the focal point. People joioned in and went with us…We engaged people to participate. We, without knowing it, having too much fun, taught people how to look at and see what was around them. Adults had fun, Kids had fun. Jaqui and I? We had a ball.

We were just being ourselves, having fun, going with the flow. I wonder how many of those strangers looked at their surroundings in new ways after that? I wonder how many looked at art differently or how many visited museums after that? I wonder how many parents or kids picked up a brush or a pencil and drew or painted after that. We met wonderful people…. And spent hours having fun, teaching, laughing, meeting strangers in an airport.

It was then that I learned that “teaching” can happen anywhere, any time, about anything, if you love it and are willing to have fun with people.

If you are ever stuck in airport, look around, and see what you can do to have fun. Help a mother with her kids, offer to listen to a stranger, offer kindness. Turn off your cell phone. Be with people around you. After all, isn’t that why we get stuck sometimes? To be where we are, loving the moment and those we are with? Being kind, helping each other? No, Jaqui and I didn’t plan on doing any of those high minded things… we were just enjoying our trip and sharing what we loved.
The rest of the trip was just as amazing…

If you are stuck in an airport today, here is a list of 10 fun free things to do…
1. Look around and people watch. See who you can offer a kind word to.
2. Offer to help a mother with crabby children.
3. Ask an old person if you can get them anything, a drink of water or juice?
4. Make a list of all that you are grateful for today, like the plane NOT flying in dangerous conditions, like time to just be….
5. Meditate
6. Take a miracle walk
7. Hug a stranger.
8. Make faces at a baby… stick out your tongue, cross your eyes… play.
9. Talk to a stranger, they won’t be strange for long.
10. Start singing, even if it’s only Happy Birthday, and ask a few others to sing along… surely someone in the airport is having an otherwise miserable birthday! Find that person and sing to them!
11. Read my blog: http://www.starbear.wordpress.com and laugh. 🙂
When we are “stuck” someplace, it’s usually because it is time to have the time to reflect on stuckness. Have fun!

Blessings to all, Starbear
Copyright 2010 Betsy Lewis


3 responses to “Having fun in airport delays…

  1. Oh! We’ve got to hear more about this trip. How ironic that you would post this today with so many people sranded up north due to the Nor’ester that hit over the holidays and delayed their trips. What an interesting way to look at being stuck in an airport. Although I’ve only seen interesting art in one airport in all of my travels. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow ahah! Great article! And great list. You could do it in a train station, couldn’t you?

  3. Thank you Orel. Glad you liked it – and, yes, you can do it anywhere! I am one of those people who see every situation as one to be enjoyed. Life is too darned short to do otherwise! 🙂

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