Wednesday, January 11, 2017

You Can't Sit There


“Ma’am. Excuse me, M’AM?” These are the three words I heard this morning in SeaTac airport while looking for somewhere to sit at the gate. I didn’t look up as certainly, they couldn’t be directed at me. Ma’am? I’m not generally ma’am material and I’m in Seattle, not a parish in New Orleans.

I spied a bank of chargers, Mecca in airport real estate, swivel stools full, except one. My lucky day in an otherwise bumpy cancelled flight kind of morning. I sit down on the stool and I hear it again but louder. “MA'AM! THAT’S MY PHONE!” This is all-caps because she was talk-shouting, not speaking. I look around and a woman sitting 6 feet across from the bank of chargers is “watching her phone” and doesn’t want me to sit where her charger is. For real. I look at her and muster my last little bit of polite upbringing when I really want to make some “Realllllllyyyyy, eye rolling shitty remark, but I don’t.
I say, “No one is sitting here. There are two outlets, one for each of our phones.”
She says, “But my phone is there and all my credit cards are on it.” She’s pissed. She’s enunciating very clearly so me so stupid can understand big problem.
I say, “Ok, I won’t touch it.” (Weirdo.)
She says, “Ma'am! I just said, my PHONE is already there. YOU CAN’T SIT THERE.”

Wha??

Insert a crowded gate of people that is listening intently, watching my face go from apologetic to embarrassed to lady you’re a rude moron but I’m not going to get into it with you so I unplug my charger, stand up and move. So both she and her phone can have somewhere to sit.

Then the magic. A lovely soft-spoken man who is sitting beside the empty stool-phone, says to me, you take my seat, I’m tired of sitting. (True gentleman. Who is ever tired of sitting?) I say no, he says, yes, please take it. I say no again, he says, I insist. So I sit. And angry ma’am chair hog lady is the whole time is breathing and huffing so loud that I can hear her even though my back is to her. Nice tired from sitting gentleman is standing near by and says to me, it’s ok, I got your back. Really? I’ve gone from ma’am with attitude to draping a cloak on a puddle so I can keep walking, all in a minute. I could cry.

And what does this have to do with painting, life, art, showing up, and entrepreneurship? Everything. Because as an artist and small business operator, I am often in my girl nest with art supplies & books & tech devices and all the things that keep my motor running and none of the things that derail me, like, people. And airports. Or people in airports. But hustling in airports and traveling in inclement weather is also part of the creative gig, life on life’s terms. Today’s bump with humanity was a minor nothing hiccup but a reminder that kindness is king. Leading with kindness and a sense of humor is the softer gentler way. It is easier. It gets you results. Like smiling and feeling good! After I’m done writing my little rant, I’m done. It will be one of a throwaway anecdote to my travels because today my dear friends, the tradeshow, the good stuff is on the other side.

But, “Ma’am”????” My ego can be found flattened on the tarmac.

"Kindness" 8x10” Sold



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