I had a fun time at my first SIFF screening on Sunday. I learned a hard lesson about timing a couple of years ago by getting to a screening with just minutes to spare. With a full house, everything was more complicated – the parking, ticket pick-up and finding a seat. I literally sprinted from the parking lot and ended up in the front row, never my favorite place to be. (Although the movie, Il Divo, was worth the effort.)
I had a sense my pick would be popular, and arrived to a large crowd and bumper-to-bumper parking garage. I felt for this year’s SIFF staff and volunteers. Some people were kind and upbeat about standing in the line that stretched around the theater and down the block, in spite of the Seattle drizzle. Other people treated the staff as if they were a personal assistant or concierge. (Yes, I mean you - lady in the purple dress yelling “EXCUSE ME!” at the volunteer who had the audacity to ask you to wait while the prior screening exited.)
Watching the crowd reminded me of a recent blog by poet Nancy Levin. Although she’s constantly traveling for business, she found herself stuck in a long line during Spring Break weekend which caused her to miss her flight. She was able to get a new ticket – for the low, low price of $1,100. (Ouch!) Instead of arguing with the ticket agent or berating them, she surrendered to the situation, smiled and simply said, “I am determined to be your kindest customer today.”
The next time you’re compelled or even entitled this week to snap at someone, think of Nancy. Softening your response could make all the difference. I’m not talking about changing to manipulate others or get your desired outcome, I mean changing because you’re in control of your emotions. Because you’re aware of how harmful chasing anger through your body can be. Because you’re past lashing out uncontrollably when you’re triggered.
Thanks for the inspiration, Nancy. Since SIFF has 2 more weeks to go, I may need it!
Meet Nancy: http://www.nancylevin.com/
Read Nancy’s incredible story about getting her ticket for free: http://www.nancylevin.com/2012/04/at-last/