Flying Over I-40 S. With Pema & Lav Doors.

3:25 a.m.  Alarm. Whoa.
4:00 a.m.  In the car to LaGuardia.
5:30 a.m.  Boarding AA #0125 to DFW.
8:12 a.m.  Sitting and thinkin’.

I look up from my e-reader, and there’s the lavatory, one seat over and across the aisle.  Its folding door is open, its spring faulty and not permitting the door to auto-close.

Passenger traffic.  In, out, in, out, in, out, in, out…door stays open. Disinfectant mix leaks out, both nostrils instinctively fire a gag reflex to block.

In, out, in, out, in, out, in, out…door open.

You get the idea.

Should we discuss toilet-door etiquette here? Have a training session perhaps?  Or does it fall in the common human decency category?  You go, do your business, you leave, you shut the bloody door. Could it be clearer?

But I’m trying here. Pema (my inspiration in the notes below) tells me that I need to be liberated from my suffering. This flying off the handle and going mental over things I can’t and will never, ever control isn’t healthy.  She tells me to pause. To breathe. To slow down.

So I do that. For a moment. But now I find that I can’t break my engagement.  I monitor the foot traffic in/out. I watch the body language of those that close the door (Human) vs. those that don’t (Savage).

DK’s research (statistically significant) finds, and there’s no shocking discovery here, Savages don’t give a damn.

And, in case you wondered, the ratio of Human (close door behind you) vs. Savage (don’t close door) … runs about 8:1.

But this, this sh*t-show can’t touch me.

Not today.

No Pema. I’m o.k.

I’m liberated from my suffering.

I’ve broken the chain.

I’m not suffering here Pema.

I’m good. 

I look out the window.

And behind me I hear footsteps exiting the toilet. 

But I fail to hear the door close.


  • Post inspired by a share from Beth: “The propensity to feel sorry for ourselves, the propensity to be jealous, the propensity to get angry—our habitual, all-too-familiar emotional responses are like seeds that we just keep watering and nurturing. But every time we pause and stay present with the underlying energy, we stop reinforcing these propensities and begin to open ourselves to refreshingly new possibilities. As you respond differently to an old habit, you may start to notice changes. In the past when you got angry, it might have taken you three days to cool down, but if you keep interrupting the angry thoughts, you may get to the point at which it takes only a day to drop the anger. Eventually, only hours or even one and a half minutes. You’re starting to be liberated from suffering. ~ Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change(Shambhala Publications, Oct 9, 2012)
  • Related Posts: Commuting Series


  1. So glad to see this isn’t getting to you…😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh to have the freedom to leave the door open and not to have a care in the world. Are they suffering? I think not. Pema would be proud of them. Go on Mr K leave the door open, I dare you….ha 💃🏼💃🏼

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, but don’t pillars of the financial world get to sit up front, where things tend to be a little more civilized?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Better to have a seat with a quick exit than move back down the plane?
    I enjoyed the funny fuming tho!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The power to interrupt those angry thoughts…there must be a learning curve for that one. But at least, there is that 8:1 ratio. There is hope for humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. roseanne333 says:

    I can’t tell you how much I loved this post. My internal dialog and ranting (at times), runs along a similar vein. Human vs. Savage – oh my God, but that’s hilarious! And, in some situations, sad. It can be very hard to suffer fools gladly. I’m a huge Pema fan. Her books are wonderful but if you can, download and listen to her on audio. She is so real and accessible. You might like Don’t Bite the Hook – similar to the above quote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad we share kinship Roseanne. I even know and feel that I am getting agitated and I keep at it. Insane, right? I will be sure to check out her audio. Thank you for recommendation.


  7. It must have started to feel like Chinese water torture. You were just waiting to see/hear that next biffy user. “Will he close the door or not?” Bet you didn’t get much reading done on that e-reader. I think next time you’d better get a seat farther away from the lav… and then try not to crane your neck to see how the stats are stacking up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Clearly Pema guided you so far above the emotional fray you were positively levitating, pal. You crack me up…. :-O

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad the ratio was on the positive side for humans. There is most definitely hope — for doors closing and for humanity!

    Nice post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Given a broken self closing mechanism I imagine I would be about 50/50 on closing the door behind me. It would depend largely on what kind of business I had to do, and whether to door was open or shut when I arrived.
    I love the Pema. Goes well with some of what we do in my Narcotics Anonymous program. You might like this, from a little pamphlet we have, “The Triangle of Self-Obsession”.

    Click to access EN3112.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I had no idea that planes lav. have auto close doors & do they have those horrible auto-flushers?. I would have hoped that the flight attendants would have put a note on the door or inside the lav. behind the toilet to shut the lav. door or made an announcement regarding the situation…I, myself would have asked them to intervene…I certainly hope that some fellow passenger (that I would think, savage), did not get any of this uninhibited, rude behavior on cell phone camera and post it…I wonder if those that left the door open washed their hands? Do these people or people here in America even stop to think about how much of a privilege it is to have restroom facilities & what proper manners are? I know that I do and just yesterday while traveling I did thank God for such a gift…and I always shut the door & wash the hands… /// Warren Buffett flies coach… thoughts: he understands the value of a dollar, so he is careful with his money -oh those mid-western values, I think he is a friendly person who laughs freely, likes people, is genuine and likes to have a pulse on the everyday man’s world and I think that he sees him self as just a regular family man…an everyday Joe, who wants his fellow man to succeed and he isn’t tainted by his billions…

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of wisdom in your comment Christie. Flight attendants would walk by and pull the door shut. Laughing – as to posting a photo on social media – now that is a great shaming thought. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it. (:


  12. Linda Arzoumanian says:

    Thanks for sharing. Made me think of all the times my son and I got row 27 or 28 on an expensive trip recently to Alaska. I simply gave up… said to him… as we boarded the last segment. Prepare yourself for the last row. Actually, I was preparing myself. I hate the last rows. I don’t walk well and to walk the distance of a long bodied airplane is a real challenge. But it was much easier when I accepted it rather than fuss about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. so funny/interesting. i noticed that once you were able to work out the stats, you began to relax a bit.making order of our world and what goes on within it, helps to calm us.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Right there with you. At the same time, put the bloody seat down!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I must clear this up – ” Laughing – as to posting a photo on social media – now that is a great shaming thought. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it. (: ” << < you misunderstand, I would think that a savage action for a fellow passenger to record the rude of not shutting the door . etc .I think that even-though some did not use their manners it would be so equally wrong to exploit another person by capturing an imagine of that magnitude and posting it…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This made me smile, David. The ever-engaged mind…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. entertaining…. for us.
    Glad you provided the ratio and at 8:1 I now have Hope we haven’t descended as far into the abyss as I’d thought common manners had gone!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. […] Today’s Intention was inspired by a quote I read from Pema Chodron yesterday on David Kanigan’s post:  Flying Over I-40 S. With Pema & Lav Doors. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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