Ya’ know the moving sidewalks at the airport? You ride them when you want to get there faster or are tired of walking. I saw this one today and it reminded me of one of my more stupid moments. I was traveling with colleagues and was in an airport in which I had never been before. We stopped and rode a very long moving sidewalk and began to have a conversation. The instructions you hear while riding tell you to hold the handrail, stand to the right for those who want to pass, and face forward. As you near the end they remind you that the sidewalk is ending, please watch your step.
If you are like me, you read the instructions before putting most things together. I read in order to know what I’m doing, and basically so I do not blow things up. I read as much as I can then get anxious to get started…so I may not always read every instruction from beginning to end. I listen to instructions during the pre flight procedure. I listen when the street sign tells me it is safe to cross. I read work instructions and procedures. And yes, I understand why the instructions are there and why I need to hear and obey. I have often written instructions for others to follow. I have no doubt of the importance of following the instructions.
And then there is that part of me that thinks I know better. I have a hunch or a thought or an idea that will override or make it better, faster, shorter. In my own stupidity I think I know better than the instructions. I don’t want to wait anymore, so I move ahead without following the instructions. Or I get distracted and stop paying attention. Now you may be smarter than me in this arena. You may be one of those people who reads from beginning to end before any form of action. You may read everything more than once to make sure you understand before the first two parts are put together. If you are that type of instruction follower, I bow to your sense of reason and logic.
So back to me on the moving sidewalk with my colleagues. We were having a very intersting conversation, so I turned around to see their faces. It was a very long sidewalk, so I had time…or did I? The next thing I know I was falling backwards, rolling on the floor with my feet over my head. Thankfully I was wearing tights with my dress, otherwise the entire airport would have seen my nether regions. I actually did a backwards somersault then stopped rolling. My colleagues were horrified and came to my rescue. I sat up and laughed a deep gut laugh. I was delighted at my stupidity…follow the instructions stupid. I mean REALLY? Rolling on the floor at the airport at the end of the sidewalk? How much of a ding dong can you be? This was not the stupidest thing I had ever done, but it made my stupid list. So much so that when I saw this sidewalk today it reminded me of my blunder.
So today I stepped onto the moving sidewalk and listened to the instructions. I chuckled a little as I remembered myself rolling backwards with my legs over my head, and I smiled inside and out. Today I not only listened to the instructions, I acted accordingly and walked proudly off when the sidewalk ended. After all else fails, follow the instructions…or always wear tights! You choose which lesson applies.