The Ranks of the Exceptional

A brawl of a storm was working up the East Coast. And in Durham, nearly every flight on the Departures board was starting to read DELAYED or CANCELLED in harsh red letters.

I watched the airport fill with thrown up arms and palms slamming down onto counters. Shoulders slumped and one man exasperated, The airlines can’t do anything right. Just like the government.

It was all what you’d expect.

But there were exceptions.

Like the tall guy who, upon boarding the plane after two weather-deplanings, hugged the flight attendant like she was family now.

Or the fellow in blue who rode down the moving walkway balanced on one leg with arms out, face grinning, like he was skating for Olympic gold.

Not far from him was a woman with curls a corkscrew would envy who had a big, sweet smile that in five hours, I never once saw conquered by delays.

And watching these people, I decided, Sign me up. I want to join the ranks of the exceptional. Those who choose to accept their reality and then hold it in bighearted hands, who don’t stop living when they get served the unexpected.

Life seemed fuller, more radiant and spirited with them.

Plus, I'll bet all the flights on the East Coast that these exceptional few had more fun at the airport than most everyone else there.

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