For the inevitable grumpy moments
Life lessons from the lady across the arm rest
My recent arrival back to Germany was paired with a nice review lesson on the uses and effects of grumpiness. In the last leg of my flight I was placed between two fully German business travelers, who weren’t excited to have me in the middle seat or about how full the flight was. I was knitting, and stretched my arms out to check my work. I may have stretched my left arm across the invisible border that divided our personal territories, perhaps. Whether or not I did, she winced. And after stewing with her concern for a minute or two, she asked me to please be careful. Oh of course! I’m sorry!
At that point, I realized why she had pulled her arm away, she thought I was going to stab her with my perfectly harmless knitting needle. Her over-reaction was forgivable, maybe she really thought I could hurt her, but I soon realized it was not an anomaly. The rest of the flight she let herself be disproportionate annoyed by the misdeeds of our co-passengers. Instead of internally laughing at the flatulence of the guy in front of us, she got perturbed and dramatically pulled her scarf over her nose. Rather than eavesdropping on the conversation happening behind us, she loudly grumbled. And in lieu of patience, she jostled the man who got between her and her luggage.
Grumpy lady taught me a lesson was about where that huffiness was going. She got grumpy at me, and I did not get upset. She got grumpy at the gas-passer and they had no idea she was even affected (perhaps not even that they were the cause). She grumped out at the conversers, yet they kept on talking. For all the grumpiness she projected out into the world, she made practically no impact outside of herself. Instead, she spent an hour feeling grumpy. And she probably felt grumpy at least an hour after that too. And that’s my lesson: Go ahead, be grumpy, but it will only make your own life less pleasant.