How humor can help you live a better life

I’m going to tell you a little story. Well…it’s actually a long, complicated story that takes about 45 minutes to share in full detail, so I imagine it would be more like a book than a blog post if I wrote all of it out. Don’t worry, I won’t do that to you..yet. Here we go:

One of my best friend’s, Becca, and I decided that we wanted to take a trip to the Dominican Republic together last summer. I take full responsibility for planting the idea because I was all, “When are we going to have another chance to do this…it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity…blah blah…..blah.” We found a LivingSocial for around $400 for a 4-night, all-inclusive resort in Puerto Plata, so my reasoning was that we would have been stupid not to buy it. I lived in Nashville at the time, she lived in D.C., so we bought our plane tickets out of D.C…and then she moved to Nashville. No big deal; we would just take a little road trip (10 hours each way) to fly out.

So, we set out on our trip Sunday morning to drive from Nashville to D.C. because our flight wasn’t until 9:30pm. But despite driving almost 90 miles an hour (sorry, Mom) the whole way there, skipping dinner, and taking minimal potty stops, we only made it to the airport an hour before check in. Which…in a perfect world…would have been plenty of time. The automated check-in wouldn’t work for us so we went to a real person, and he let us know that all the flights to Newark had been canceled. We knew this wasn’t true, because we had been checking on the hour, every hour, just hoping that our flight would be delayed. We would definitely know if it had been canceled. So huMAN went to his computer to check for us, and we’re standing there in anticipation when he finally says, “You aren’t going to like what I have to say. You’re at the wrong airport.”

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Rather than reverting to panic mode, however, we went into full-on problem solving mode. We had about 45 minutes to get to the next airport and onto our flight before it left. We took Becca’s car to D.C., but someone met us at the airport and took her car so we essentially hijacked a taxi. Before his current customer had paid and took his bags out of the cab, we said, “Listen, we need you to get us to Reagan within 30 minutes.” The current customer’s card wasn’t working, but Muhammad (our cab driver) knew we didn’t have time for that and said he would just bill the customer. Who knew that was even possible?

Muhammad was a rockstar and got us to the airport in 30 minutes. Unfortunately, though, our flight was not only on time, it was ahead of schedule and so there is about a 99% chance our flight had already left at this point. But don’t make the mistake of asking them to hold the plane, because it’s so expensive they can’t even hold it for the President. (I’m sorry, if President Obama showed up in your terminal and said, “Hold that plane!” I’m fairly certain you would hold that plane.)

So, we changed our flight itinerary to fly out of the 3rd D.C. airport (we had already been to 2 of the 3 already) at 6am the next morning, we got our passports checked, and got checked in so that literally all we had to do was show up at our terminal and get on the plane in the morning. We had a place to stay, so we go have dinner, make cab reservations for 2:30am, and buy train tickets for the 3:15am ride to Baltimore. We’re golden, so we lay down to rest for a bit.

I wake up and look at my watch……and it’s 4:30am. Our flight boarded in an hour, and it took an hour to get to Baltimore. We missed several calls from the cab company, and neither of our alarms went off (which I discovered was because mine was set for 2:15PM instead of AM). The only option was to have the taxi take us straight to the Baltimore airport, but we didn’t care. We were shelling out money like pimps at this point, but we just wanted to get to the DR. Then I check my phone and, low and behold, there is a flight delay notice. It delayed our flight for three hours, so we weren’t going to miss it anymore.

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…but it would make us miss our connecting flight to the DR. We would figure that out when we got to the airport though. This one was on the airline, they just had to help us.

We ask the cab driver to take us to the train station instead of Baltimore, and he obliges, but not without talking about politics and drunk republicans first. Sir, I don’t care who’s drunk, I don’t care if you’re drunk, as long as you get me to the train station, that will get me to the airport, that will get me to the Dominican Republic, I have no problem with you. We finally get on the train, and get to the Baltimore airport around 6am (IF our flight had been on time, we still would have missed it). After a long struggle with the airline rep, we discovered that there was only seat left on the next flight to the Dominican, and that the earliest they could get us there together would be Wednesday evening, which would give us a whopping day and a half in the DR. We decided it wasn’t worth it and canceled our trip to the Dominican.

This is a true story, and it has a point. Without humor, that entire trip would have been devastating. (Not to mention carried a pretty high probability of ruining a friendship.) Humor helped us “mourn” our missed trip because it reminded us to be humble; we both messed up in the planning and implementing of the trip. The fault doesn’t lie on any one person either (unless you believe it was God-ordained, in which case it is clearly God’s fault) so it reminded us to give grace to each other. When it comes down to it, having humor in the situation helped us remember that sometimes life is a mess and you can’t do much to clean it up. I have found that, generally, humor has helped make bad situations, and life overall, better…but it just happened to be SUPER clear in this scenario.

And don’t worry, we are still best friends and roommates. Thankfully, now it’s just an incredibly good and fun story to tell, and we’re already on the lookout for that next great trip.

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