It's not about you (or me).

2012 travel kicks into high gear for me this week.  This year I'm determined to have a calm attitude while getting from point A to point B by remembering this one, basic fact: I'm not the center of the universe.

I know, intellectually,  that the sun doesn't circle around me, but sometimes my attitude says something different.  I like to think I'm subtle about how I'm feeling, but I'm afraid it is all too real.  I have moments when  I'm a little brusk with the TSA agents, or I don't make an effort to chit-chat with the cab driver.  Other times, I'm somewhat snippy with the reservation agent or impatient with the hotel clerk.   My mom would call this "getting huffy."

That makes me wonder why my default mode is to act like travel is about creating a fun and easy experience for me?  People have their jobs to do, and they have their challenges in ways that I can't imagine or appreciate... unless I try. I don't have any idea why the TSA agent is a bit gruff, but think about all of the stinky feet that he has to smell!  I just assume that the hotel clerk is always disorganized and never consider the fact that a high school soccer team arrived a day early and need 20 rooms pronto.  I've realized that I need to give more grace when I deal with people who work in the service industry.  They have to bring more patience to their job daily than I have to muster in an entire week.

Even when I'm not battling an airport security line, I still run the risk of getting huffy.  I find the attitude creeping up in the grocery store (does anyone else out there miss Webvan?), in traffic, or at the "fast" food restaurant.  The self-centered thing just doesn't seem to go away.

My best way to remember things is to have a picture burned in my brain.   When I think about how difficult it can be to keep a great attitude, I want to remember this image of a NYC cable driver changing his tire on 45th St.


I wonder what kind of attitude this guy had after fixing this flat?  There he is... changing his tire in the chill of winter while all of NYC drives by, honking and yelling, and giving him all sorts of grief.  Still, he must forge ahead in order to earn the bit of salary so he can provide for his family.  I'd be willing to bet that his next passenger had no clue about what came before they jumped into his car.  I wonder if the passenger was frustrated when the cabbie took a wrong turn or hit the brakes too hard.  I hope they were nice and gave the guy the benefit of a little extra grace.

I hope I would have done the same.