Put on your O2 mask first.

Put on your O2 mask first.

The more you travel by air, the more you can find yourself doing one of two things when the ubiquitous safety reminders begin. You can zone out and not even hear them. I think most people do this. Do they hear the very articulate shuttle bus announcement as the bus pulls into THEIR terminal? No. They are already scooping up, grabbing, or dragging carry-ons, duffel bags, and suitcases down the aisle.

Once on board, do they take out the instruction card from the “seat pocket in front”? I think not. They are still texting, talking, tinkering, and starting to turn off the multiple devices that keep them tied to the outside world like a digital umbilical cord.

Another more mind-numbing option is to say the safety instructions out loud along with the shuttle voice. Make it a choral announcement. It could have the potential for a flash mob experience. Perhaps augmented with gestures. “We are approaching Terminal A. Look around you for any items you have brought with you. Take YOUR baggage with you as you exit.”

Or join in the recitation with the singsong or garbled voice of the flight attendant. “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person…”

Why was it, today of all days, that I listened to the instructions and had a writer’s aha? I had just pitched a relationship/book talk idea for the Green Valley Local Author series. I was thinking about snippets of stories I’ve heard lately–how couples met, how caregivers survive, and how people move on after divorce.

And so, I present…Relationship Breakthrough Safety Instructions

Shuttle to the Airport Breakthrough:   “We are approaching the end of this relationship. Look around for any items you brought into the relationship, take YOUR BAGGAGE with you. Not his, not hers, not the guilt trip, or rescuer facet of your hurt ego. Take what is yours and EXIT.”

Use Your Oxygen Mask:   “Put on your oxygen mask first. Too many women and men are EMTs to the life desires of others. And it gradually and sometimes, oh so seductively… sucks the life out of you. Take time to put on your O2 mask before helping others. Some interesting ways this can happen:

  • Yoga, karate, dance, read, sport, walking, hiking, biking,
  • Start/end the day with time for yourself: walk, read, meditate, exercise, sleep.
  • Daily: Listen to music; write affirmations; put a Do Not Disturb sign on your office doorknob or desk; breathe. Parents: Put yourself in Time Out.
  • Practice saying, “I’m really sorry but I have to say no.” Or if you’re still fumbling for your O2 mask–“I can see this is really important to you, let me think about it and get back to you.” Make sure you do respond with a diplomatic and firm “no.”

Have a pleasant flight.