CEO Dad’s Tuesday Tirade….
There was nothing I could do. Owing to some weather issues, air traffic control had cancelled all flights from my destination airport: there was no way the plane that was supposed to come from there to get us could get where it needed to be. Not only that, it would be more than twenty-four hours before the right connecting flights could be lined up to get me where I needed to be. I was stranded, and there was nothing I could do about it.
This, of course, did not stop my CEO Dad tendencies from kicking in big time. Despite the well-reasoned tone of the airline official behind the counter making the announcement that put a crimp on my day, I stormed up to get in his face. There had to be some alternative, some way that a man of my great importance (cue laugh track here) could be accomodated! Then, of course, once it began to sink in that there was no way to change these new circumstances, I had to get on the cell phone and tell everyone I was supposed to meet with on Monday (meetings that were hardly crucial and could easily be rescheduled), everyone at work (people who could easily deal with a day without me) and my family (people who could also easily deal with a day without me, and may, after listening to my over-the-top complaining, be looking forward to a day without me) all about the great injustice being done to me. Plus, true to form, I made sure all the other disgruntled passengers heard my cell phone yammering, feeling as if I was testifying on their behalf about their frustration (but really just making them uncomfortable). Finally, my cell phone battery died, and I was forced to breathe. To look around me. To see a roomful of people in the same boat as me: no plane, no complimentary night at a hotel (because air traffic control called this one, and not the airline), and no recourse.
In my case, my option was to call the friend I had been visiting and have him come to retrieve me, whereupon he graciously allowed me to stay an extra day with him. And that Monday, that day I had thrust upon me in which I was unhooked from my normal beginning-of-the-week pattern, turned out to be rather pleasant. Yes, I got on the Internet and sent a few e-mails, but for the most part, I kicked back with my old friend (who, himself, graciously called in sick to take advantage of our bonus time together).
And then I thought: too bad some act of God hadn’t forced me to go back home and relax for a day, with my family. How much did I need to kick back with them the way I was kicking back with Murray? (Not his real name–he was nervous about being associated publicly with a basket case like me.) Yup, what I need is somebody, every once in a while, to cancel something I thought was so important, like that flight. “Sorry, Tom, we won’t be able to do business today, our office is, uh, fogged in…yeah, that’s it, fogged in. Corporate Traffic Control says you’re stranded here, and will need to spend the day hanging out with your loved ones.”
Hey, it could happen. Sure, it’s wrong of me to need an imaginary outside force to tell me when I need to calm down, but the first step toward modifying behavior is being aware of your inadequacies. Which is interesting, because up until I was around 40, I didn’t think I had any of those.