Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Space

The cranky lady next to me on the plane jumped out of her seat to frantically keep anyone else's luggage from harming her Ferrari (?) laptop. She didn't want to put her second piece under her feet, but it was a good thing for two others to put their only piece under their feet. Everyone within a four row radius knew her opinion about my space.

I was angry at her for being so self centered. Later I softened when she told me of the places she'd been, the businesses she had started and been successful at. She needed to be a spitfire to accomplish what she had. When I found out she was eighty, it was hard to believe. She looked 60. Begrudgingly, I came to admire her as we parted. Still, I thought she was completely out of line and selfish.

A few days later I felt the grinding ugliness of my space. The beach was sparsely populated. Brita and I had a sweet little spot under the sun filtered fronds of three palm trees. A group of senior citizen's with visors and clothes screaming Tourist tottered over and plopped their chairs right between us and the water. Inconceivable! The whole beach beckoned..... and they picked that spot? Ruining my view? My afternoon? My vacation? My life?  

It was unbelievably rude and inconsiderate of them. They didn't notice my scowl. They were oblivious of my offended huffing and puffing as we laboriously moved our pile of stuff to another place.

They wrecked my space. It was mine. I was there first. Acquiring two year old emotions came easily.

As lady dragon smoke continued to puff out my ears and nose, the frail older man who picked their spot came up to our chairs. Extending his hand he apologized. "We come from the East coast where the beaches are packed like Honolulu. I didn't realize we were sitting between you and the water. I'm sorry."

His timing churned my stomach. Brita had just been reminding me that they probably had been oblivious and weren't purposely being annoying or mean. She gently helped me remember times I had probably been unaware myself.

What could I do but blush and welcome him to the human race while taking his warm, wrinkled hand in mine? It was hard to make eye contact. His knobby knees had become fascinating.

David Rupert at Red Letter Believers does a monthly roundup of featured posts at High Calling. Check out the other featured posts Around the Network


Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so honest. This is sweet. I love Brita...and YOU. :)
PS: When can the girls and I come visit??? :)

Anonymous said...

Em (forgot to sign...) ;)

Anonymous said...

yeah, those senior citizens are pretty cunning.
you gotta watch 'em.

M.L. Gallagher said...

LOl -- re what nAncY said.

I wrote about 'the dragon' today too! How serendipitous.

and your story is oh so true... we are all connected. And sometimes, it takes someone else's bad behaviour to help us embrace and love our own.

Hugs -- you are amazing!

Joyceann Wycoff said...

Dontcha just loves those moments when the Universe offers us a glimpse into our shadow selves?! I've had several tests recently and failed them all ... it's so much easier to be nice to people who are what I want them to be. ;-)

Glynn said...

This sounds like a variation on road rage. Beach rage?

I had to teach myself about how to respond when I feel road rage because some stupid driver has done something unusually stupid (daily occurrence, if not hourly). I started teling myself that the driver did not get out of bed that morning with the determination that he would do something offensive to me personally. I'll repeat that and insert my full name. By the time I'm finished, the driver has usually gone on somewhere -- likely to offend someone else.

Maureen said...

I wonder what the reaction might have been if you or Brita had gently and kindly pointed out, before the seniors got comfortable, that your sea view would be blocked and the rest of the beach was open.

I'm also recalling what every therapist offers as advice in such circumstances: The only thing we can control is how we react.

Maureen said...

I think, too, it might have been fun if you'd just upped and joined them.

Kathleen Overby said...

Maureen, that evening I did have regrets that we hadn't joined them. They were lovely people and we missed the opportunity. :) Gulp.

Darlene said...

a fire-breathing dragon lady and a knobby-kneed senior...

You painted such pictures for me today! And knowing your warm hand on my arm (and my face and my other arm and my back), the older man probably felt love radiate through your touch.


(it's me, A Simple Country Girl, but I think I am signed in with my ministry site...)

Sandra Heska King said...

I think I'm technically a senior citizen. I hope I'm toting a laptop when I'm 80 and look like I'm 60. :)

Checking my knees for knobs.

David Rupert said...

Boy, we get selfish with our space. And on airplanes i am very finicky! But what about parking lots, grocery stores and freeways. We all think we have a claim to 'space' . Great, insightful piece

Rebecca said...

I agree with David. We do get selfish with our space. But why? I think it's because we need space to replenesh ourselves. But this reminds me that Jesus had no space. Nowhere to rest his head. That would be hard. It seemed like everyone invaded his personal space. If it wasn't for his direct line to God he surely would have been emotionally exhausted.

Well, next time I'm in line at the supermarket with somebody standing far too close behind me, I'll remember this post, and Jesus, and I'll ask God to take my space and give me his strength instead.
Thanks. :)

deb said...

oh, this is so me , Kathleen.
love it.

Lyla Lindquist said...

Kathleen, I thought I'd commented on this before, but I see not. Perhaps it hit a little too close to home.

I guard nothing like I guard my space. You're speaking to me here...

Ann Kroeker said...

Boy, I was *there* on the plane and the beach. You chose such specific and concrete details to invite us into your scene...and your heart.

Thank you for introducing us to the gentleman at the beach and the 80yo on the plane. And thank you for revealing a little bit more of yourself, so that we can see a little bit more of ourselves.

Brock S. Henning said...

Ugh, I hate when that happens! :) And like you, I usually end with my stomach churning and welcoming them with a smile, red cheeks, and a handshake. Thanks for sharing! (found this over at The High Calling 'Around the Network' post).