Stay Open and Look for Your People

A couple of years ago, on my way back to New Orleans after a wearying business trip to Raleigh, our plane arrived late in Baltimore and I missed the connection. There was nothing to be done: we were marooned at BWI. I joined the line of The Stranded to get meal and hotel vouchers and exchanged sympathetic glances with the friendly couple in front of me. It was a husband and wife on their first trip to the Big Easy—sans kids.

That, it turned out, was the beginning of a lovely friendship. There was a certain mischief in their eyes that I recognized immediately. We joked our way through dinner and talked on the shuttle ride to and from the hotel, hung out in the terminal the next morning, and sat in the same row on the plane. (I got on first and saved seats for them. I was *that guy* you hate on Southwest flights.) 

By the time we landed, we were fast friends. I drove them to their hotel, and the next day my partner and I met them in NOLA for a day of revelry and adventures. I was so impressed (and, frankly, inspired) by how easy they were to be around and how up-for-anything they were. 

They finally returned to New Orleans this past weekend, and we picked right back up without missing a beat. The conversation flowed easily--from jazz bands and drag queens and beer and bourbon to tender farewells and deep grief for lost loved ones. 

That night in Baltimore, I missed one connection and made a better one. At the outset, it might have been easy to retreat into annoyance and throw the whole layover into the travel-pain-in-the-ass drawer. As a blackbelt introvert by training, withdrawal has long been one of my go-to strategies. Through time, attention, and self-compassion, I've been working on that.

So here's where I get all Pollyanna on your ass, because it turns out Pollyanna knows a thing or two. We just never can predict where our next awesome experience or wonderful friendship is going to come from. But there’s one place we can *always* look: Right. Here. Right. Now.

So, be open to possibility. Yes, even in this slow-moving airport, supermarket, post office, or (gasp!) DMV line. That person in front of you just might have the second half of an incantation you've been trying to remember. And there is powerful enchantment to be unleashed when magic folk join forces.