Sunday afternoon Mike and I ordered up round 2 of cocktails. Now we were on vacation, and we were on vacation in Key West, so we were doing what you do in Key West: day-drinking and dripping with sweat. Key West is the hottest place in the world in September and that heat was adding to a little bit of our crankiness, but also a ridiculous travel day made our walk to our day-drinking spot a little bit grumbly and mumbly. Mike and I vowed, however, once we got there we weren’t going to talk about the travel day. Well, two drinks in I broke that vow…as you do when a little rum is coursing through you…and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut about things anymore.
I said to Mike, “You know what, there was just no caring throughout the entire day. Not one single person that we dealt with during our four-hour delay over the lost bags cared.” We talked about how in the grand scheme of things, that stuff doesn’t matter. It’s not that big of a deal. It was how they responded and reacted that was the disaster area that had us both so frustrated.
As Mike had his drink, I went on and I said, “You know what, Mike, maybe if they had brought some curiosity to what we were going through, what we were experiencing, they would have acted differently. Maybe if they had asked questions, their actions would have been different as well. Like, ‘well, if we’re not taking this plane because it’s broken and we have to take that plane, I wonder who’s going to move the luggage so the bags get on it?’ Perhaps if they had asked some of those types of questions, we would have our bags and things won’t be so annoying.” Then I said if they had just responded with a little bit of empath,y I would be more understanding. At one point I had to call in about the bags and the woman threw her colleague under the bus and went on and on about how I had done the process wrong. Perhaps if she had just said, “Hey Erin, you know what? Not having your luggage on vacation must really be a stinker,” I wouldn’t be so annoyed. However, none of those things had happened.
There I was, trying to relax, trying to enjoy my vacation, just talking about how if they had just CARED, I could be chilled out. Well, as I told myself to calm down, I slurped up some more of my drink, and then it hit me… I thought CARE– what had I just talked about, curiosity, asking questions, responding with empathy. I said, “Mike that’s it! I’ve got it! I’ve got the formula!” Mike was not half as excited as I was about it, but I was excited–I AM excited–because there it is! So often now, we’re talking about how we need more caring, we need to care in the world these days, and here’s a way how to do it. Bring curiosity into situations. Ask questions to try to understand, maybe to shift your point of view. Respond with empathy instead of responding to be right or responding with apathy, respond to try and understand what that other person is going through.
I thought if they had just done any of those things our sweaty, hot, relaxing (supposedly) vacation would have been off to a much better start and I would have been perhaps on drink three instead of just drink two.
There you have it! Go forth and bring some caring into your world.