I learned a while back that I’d be lots happier if I accepted things as they were, rather than expecting them to be different.  Adopting this attitude brings with it benefits hard to imagine.  The trick is to remain calm and go along with the things you can’t change.

On the first leg of my flight from Grand Junction, Colorado to Phoenix, on my way home from a wonderful trip making presentations, a book signing and a fabulous visit with friends, I was seated (in a very small plane) next to a very large young man.  As I sat next to him, I found myself leaning into the aisle because his shoulder and upper arm took up a quarter of my seat!  He was HUGE!

I had a chat with him and he seemed like a nice fellow, but seemed more embarrassed about his size and taking up so much space on the small plane, than I felt uncomfortable.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an uncomfortable hour, but adding to the contact list on my new iPhone (that should come as a surprise to many of you) kept me enthralled and entertained for the flight.

I had just had a lovely visit to GJ, gave a few talks that went very well, had a book signing at a candy store owned by great friends and had fun hanging out with one of them for the evening, got to spend time with my long-time friend watching her son perform in the high school band competition (Go Bulldogs!) and bought my first iPhone (and got a lot of help in learning how to use it)!  You can’t imagine how I was buzzing.

I had asked for aisle seats when receiving my boarding passes and was glad I got one on the first leg, or I would have been pressed up against the window sitting next to my friend.  For the Phoenix to LA leg though, I was scheduled to be seated at a window, and wanted to see if I could change that.  I like the aisle.

Actually, in looking at the boarding passes and seat assignments online, I noticed that seats in First Class where not that much extra for the upgrade, so I thought I might treat myself and fly home in style on this leg, since I had had such a great week.

On the phone, I was told there were no seats available in First Class and to check again at the gate.

Alas, no seats available at the gate either, so I was banished to 28A.

A coach window seat.

In the back of the plane.

With six across.

As I began reading the book I brought along, a gentleman came and sat in the seat beside me.  He immediately extended his hand in greeting.  I shook and said, “Hello,” and he asked me what I was reading.  I showed him and he took genuine interest, wanting to know what it was about and spoke about the interesting title.  I thought, “What the hell, if he’s so interested in books, why not show him Becoming . . . .”  I pulled one out of my bag, introduced it to him and again, he took genuine interest.

He took his time.

He slowly, methodically, gently and with great care leafed through every page of the book, stopping to comment on the chapter titles and quotations.  At the chapter entitled Living With What You’ve been living Without, he paused, thought about it for a second and asked, “Why has no one thought of this before?”

Then he asked the same question in French, because it’s a quotation in a story about Napoleon.  The man was fluent in five languages and could hold a conversation in three others!

He proceeded to tell me the story of Napoleon and the egg, and how none of Napoleon’s men could stand it on its end.  A problem he put to his generals, no doubt, to see if they could think abstractly.  Tapping the egg lightly on the table, Napoleon cracked the bottom of the shell which allowed it to stand erect on the table.  His men thought, “Why has no one thought of this before!”

At the chapter entitled: Dogs Always Know What Time It Is: NOW! NOW! NOW!, he spoke of how we rarely live in the moment and shared some of his experiences at talks on the same subject.

We spoke about interpersonal communication and intra-personal communication and how one has to know one’s-self through intra-personal communication in order to be effective at interpersonal communication.  There was an immediate connection between the two of us right from the start.

We talked on and off and had very warm and comfortable conversations throughout the flight.  He then turned to me and said, “I’m a book publisher.  May I have your contact information?”