February 20, 2016


Prawo Murphiego

One day in life of director, mother, woman on business trip.

Translated by Dorota Żurawińska

There are those days in human life, where the accumulation of unusual events is more than noticeable.

“What else will go wrong?”

“The whole world has conspired against me!”

“Murphy’s law: if something can go wrong, it will go wrong … “

“It would be better not even get up from bed.”

“I hate Mondays!”

At moments like these I wonder, what all of this wants to tell me and what do I have to do with it.

How to react to such events? With anger? With rage? With doubt? With panic? With curiosity? With joy? With a smile?

It was Monday 25/01/2016.

The next morning I had to go to Scotland to visit the supplier. Flight just as any other flight – nothing special. I do those business trips a lot and this type of entertainment doesn’t excite me much. The usual way to work, only a little bit longer.

Zuzia came home from school telling me that she had been feeling unwell and vomited while being in the common room at school. From 7 pm her dance with stomach flu really kicked off. This did not surprise us. I would rather say that it was only a matter of time. Dawid started this family counting down two days earlier. Most likely, bringing the virus from the kindergarten.

“Zuzia couldn’t have chosen a better time.”

In fact, I can’t really say whether she could or couldn’t.

Watching Dawid, during the weekend, I wondered if Zuzia would manage to get sick before my departure, and when the time would come for me and Tom. There is one thing that you can be sure of with stomach flu: the turn will come for everyone.

Few years before, children were constantly sick while I was away. I’m not a big fan of this type of arrangement. If it’s up to me, I choose to be with my children while they are sick.

Zuzia was doing rounds between the room and bathroom. I was sitting beside her. I was helping her in the toilet. I was waking her up when her stomach was being to active and she began to wriggle in her bed. I was stroking her back when she was vomiting. In the meantime I was working on the computer.

Dawid calmed down at around 3.00 am. Zuzia started at about the same time, so if she would follow the same schedule, it should also finish somehow at the same time. It was not a bad plan, especially considering the fact that the taxi was supposed to pick me up at 4.30.

“I should make it on time.”

Just around midnight I packed my bag.

Already for some time Tomek had been saying that I treat my trips very carelessly and I’m not only accepting them with calmness, but even with disregard. Maybe he’s right.

Zuzia went to sleep peacefully at about 3.00 am. She became relaxed. She was breathing steadily and gently. Everything was going according to the plan.

Me, instead, I felt a little pressure in my stomach, going up and down.

“Oh, no…There it comes… it’s my turn…”

I considered various scenarios of the events looking for the best moment for my adventure with stomach flu. But this scenario wasn’t taken into consideration. I had one and a half an hour to my departure. Not too much.

“It’s enough.”

I took a bath. I got dressed. I brushed my hair. I was drying my hair sitting on the floor, because keeping the upright posture exceeded my physical capabilities. The body was giving me a very clear sign when it was the time to visit the toilet, and when I could do something else. 5 minutes to go… and everything calmed down. On the spot.

I congratulated myself on the efficient action. I stroke my belly and I left home.

Going beyond standards

This time, for the first time, I decided to use the electronic version of the boarding pass. I am attached to working, trusted solutions and normally I had been printing a paper version. Checking in the day before I thought it was high time to try something new. Dare to change. Go beyond the pattern.

Moreover, for the first time, I went on a trip without my inseparable backpack, where I was carrying literally everything. After meeting with the stylist at the beginning of the year, I had changed my backpack for a bag. I even had managed to get used to it. Backpack weighed 8 kg. The bag, 5 kg. Where was the difference? Well, it turned out that the complete wiring of my equipment (laptop, cell phone, external hard drives, etc.) as well as most part of my papers, which I bring with myself, could stay in the registered baggage during the flight. There is no real need to carry it on my back. WOW.

While getting into a taxi, I noticed that the battery of my phone is charged only in 20%. In the whirl of evening and night events, the issue of phone charging had proved itself to be not so important. Now I had to bear the consequences. A quick review of the situation.

“I need wires. They are in the suitcase. Before the registration of the baggage I will manage to put them in my bag. On the plane, I will charge the phone from my laptop.”

Conclusion: I needed a USB cable to the phone.

At the airport, according to the plan, I took the cable out of my suitcase and put it into my hand luggage. I needed my phone during the time of boarding in Warsaw and Amsterdam, for approximately 3-4 hours in total.

“A two-hour flight to Amsterdam with the phone connected to the laptop should be enough. Then it will be ok. At the meeting with the supplier I will use a standard phone charger and connect it to the socket. It’s completely doable.”

At the Okecie airport, some time ago, they had installed automatic gates with a bar code reader leading to the security control. I moved a phone closer to the reader. I heard a sound indicating an error.

“Wrong airport”. Seriously?

At that point I reminded myself that, in fact, I had received two emails from KLM. I had treated it as a mistake, not even reviewing their content. I left one of them in the inbox and archived the second one. And at that moment, I realized that each of them had contained a boarding card for different flight. The problem was that I threw the first mail into the archive, which was on the server. I took me a few minutes and few % of the battery to download it.

The plan, the autopilot and the strength of assumptions

The plan was to connect the phone to the laptop on the plane.

I didn’t manage to execute it. While I was waiting for the information of the possibility of using larger electronic equipment, fatigue proved to be stronger than me and I just fell asleep. I woke up two hours later in Amsterdam. It turned out it did me good. I got out of the plane with much higher level of energy. Contrary to my phone. Current battery level 15%.

In roaming mode battery level drops much faster than normal. I text-ed my husband to tell him I landed and I started my march from the Terminal B to D.

“40 minutes till boarding. The phone should do it. It’s ok.”

Then I realized that if I want to go to the Terminal D, I have to go through passport control. I didn’t take my passport. My passport was lying quietly in the second drawer of the desk. At that time, in my head I saw its exact location.

“Seriously, I need to have a passport? ID card won’t do it?”

I have been going on autopilot to such extent, that even for a moment I hadn’t thought about my passport. I got used to that in Europe ID card is enough. At that moment I doubted.

“What now? We’re going back home? How do we get back home? What about the meeting?”

I was in the queue for check-in of the European passports and I was conferring with myself.

“I assume that since there is a passport check-in, you must have a passport. And what if you don’t have to?”

I approached the counter. I gave the phone with the email containing my boarding card and my ID card. Smile N°10.

“I’m going to Glasgow. I only have the ID card because I left my passport at home.”

The gentleman on the other side of the counter smiled. ID card was ok. I went through.

A glance at the phone. Battery 8%. It was 5 minutes to the boarding time. Then I discovered the existence of those booths at the airport. You can charge your cell phone for 2 € in 5 min. Earlier I wasn’t paying much attention to them. This time I had neither 2 euro, nor 5 minutes. It’s good to know for the future.

“I will manage.”

I arrived to the gate in the best possible moment to go through the boarding procedure and into the plane without standing in line. Phone managed to hold on. What’s more, I called Tomek, asked him about children and briefly told him about my adventures. I got into the plane smiling to myself.

The flight went smoothly. I charged the phone from the laptop lying on my knees.

Everything was great until they announced that we are preparing to the landing.

I fly a lot. However, I had never experienced a roller coaster like this before. I was truly afraid.

“Everything will be fine. It’s all right.”

I leaned my head on the seat, feet on the floor, hands on my knees. I closed my eyes.

Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe in and breathe out.

Silence. Darkness. Nothingness. I saw the sea. Big waves on the ocean. Great, without breakers. They were raising and falling. Their immensity was impressive, but the pace of traffic calming.

Breathe in and breathe out.

I saw a huge oil tanker. It was swinging a bit on the waves. Compared to it, these big waves didn’t seem to be such huge at all. The enormity of the oil tanker made them lost their power. They suddenly became smaller.

Breathe in and breathe out.

We landed.

A sense of happiness at that moment when the plane glided on its wheels on the apron – priceless (for the rest there’s MasterCard!). These are those times when gratitude and happiness overflows every single cell of the body. Those are moments of real, infinite appreciation of life. Here and now.

What else could happen?

I met my colleagues from work at the airport exit and we went together to the meeting with the supplier.

When I arrived there I discovered another banal thing. In Scotland, as in the UK, they have other plugs for sockets. I knew it then and I know it now. I have adapters at home. Nevertheless, their current location and the awareness of having them didn’t change a lot in my situation.

“Maybe they’ll have one at the hotel. Maybe we will buy one somewhere?”

Phone charged up to 20%, the laptop showed me the possibility of working on a battery for 30 minutes. The meeting was supposed to take about 5 hours. Smile N°10 and I got a cable with a suitable plug to my laptop charger. From the laptop to the USB of the phone and “we’re home”.

Meeting came to the end. We were taken to the hotel. There it turned out that they don’t have our booking, and all rooms are occupied. After a brief investigation, we discovered that the booking was made only for the date of its submission, which was two weeks earlier, and not for the date of the arrival.

Who made the mistake? And does it really matter?

They offered us 2 instead of 3 rooms in the hotel in the neighborhood. My colleagues weren’t, however, willing to share a room.

In the end, they found us three rooms near to the airport. We had some place to sleep. Let me skip the discussion on the relation price-quality. I experienced the lack of the adapter again, while drying my hair in the morning, but that is a completely different story…

The power of peace

Before falling asleep, I was thinking about the events of the whole day. The memories of these days are like little gems. A bit unreal, a bit magic, and without any doubts memorable. These days are to be remembered for years. Over time with greater distance and greater fondness as well. They become anecdotes stories at social gatherings and training.

I observe how the time changed my approach to such events.

Once I had been reacting nervously. Each subsequent element had caused the eruption of anger, frustration, and panic. I had been feeling guilty or hurt. I had been looking for someone or something to blame. I had been looking for explanations, excuses. But it hadn’t change a lot, and it had been dragging me into the spiral of a sense of powerlessness.

This time I was calm. I was calm all the time. I noticed the relations of cause and effect and was as happy as a sand boy with them. It is really fascinating for me, how potentially irrelevant decisions can have gigantic impact on future events. Each subsequent element was happening differently, I was accepting it with a smile, curiosity, and amusement.

What was the reason? … because the greater is openness and acceptance with which I accept the events in my life, the more I strengthen my belief that it all makes sense, even if I don’t get it from the beginning. The most important become the experience, perception, and profiting from the inspiration. Taking responsibility for everything  which I have influence on and let go everything which I have no impact on.

Observation of the world. Observation of myself. Observation of relationships and their consequences.

I teach my children that everything will work out easily, that they will smoothly find a solution and that it is just fine as it is, that you can only change what is ahead of you, because the facts of the past are in the past. That day I felt so consistent with what I teach them.Amazing feeling…

Do you have such days? What do you think about them? What is their purpose? What do you think?


Translated by Dorota Żurawińska

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