I went to Seattle for a dental course this last weekend, and had a funny experience on my way home. I left after the course on Friday evening, and hurried to the airport just in time to find out my flight was delayed. That was okay – I usually like a few minutes to decompress and write notes from what I just learned, and this gave me that opportunity.I was sitting across from a cute 20-something girl, and noticed a 20-something young man sit down next to her. He was needing to charge his phone, and that chair was on the end near a plug. She was friendly, said “hi” and asked how he was doing. He said, “I would be doing great, but I have the worst case of hiccups I’ve EVER had in my life!” This was punctuated by a hiccup or two just to prove his point. She laughed and said she was sorry for him, then went back to surfing on her phone. After a minute or two of steady hiccuping, she offered him some of her orange juice. He said he wished that would help, but he had just chugged 1 1/2 bottles of water and it hadn’t done a thing. After another minute of serious hiccups she started asking him questions. He started to answer, then loudly sighed and said, “I can’t even talk with these stupid hiccups!” Well, if you’ve ever talked with hiccups, you know it makes them louder if you hiccup in the middle of talking. That’s what was happening!
This poor girl – she told him she was trying to take his mind off of the hiccups by talking to him. He said he appreciated it, but he was so frustrated! He looked around and said “I can’t even imagine what you and all of these people think. No one knows me, and I’m sitting here looking like I’m having a seizure or something!” Well by this point I was totally distracted by their conversation and started to giggle! It wouldn’t have been so funny if every other word wasn’t accompanied by a loud hiccup! He looked over and said, “see, look at that lady! She can’t even keep it together anymore after watching me.” I told him I wasn’t laughing about the hiccups, I was laughing at him because he was funny.
Well, it went from bad to worse. They continued talking, and he continued hiccuping. For some reason I thought it was REALLY funny. I was trying not to laugh because I didn’t want him to feel bad and think I was laughing at him. Have you ever tried to keep a laugh in? It’s torture! I didn’t want to get up and move because then he would know I was moving because of him. I tried anything I could think of to distract myself. I texted my husband, I ate some snacks, I read some of my notes, I drank some water…and nearly choked to death! Right in the middle of a drink he hiccuped loudly and said a cuss word. Again, I have no idea why I thought it was so funny, but I about couldn’t take it! I would be typing and random laughs would break free after a particularly funny hiccup. I was never so glad to hear them say the plane was beginning to board! My cheeks hurt from holding my smile in. Literally!
I’m still chuckling about this one. If he wasn’t so funny and frustrated, I don’t think it would have been funny…but it was! It got me thinking about something. He was so worried about what other people were thinking about him and his marathon hiccups. Most likely, very few people were thinking about him at all. A quote I heard once says it best- “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.” Wow. That makes me think.
I know I worry way too much about this, so I have a nugget I want to share. Someone once told me that being shy is selfish. What? They explained that if you are shy, you are thinking about yourself entirely. You are worried about how you look, how you’ll sound, what you’ll say, what others think about you… and on and on. That really is selfish thinking. That hit me like a ton of bricks, because I’m typically shy in social situations. I’m being selfish when I climb inside of my shy self. It’s helped me to look outward – how can I engage that person, what could I do for them, who looks lonely that I could talk to, etc.
So my challenge to you this week is to think about situations that you are typically shy or reserved in. Honestly assess whether you are being selfish and thinking everyone is looking at you or thinking or talking about you. If you are, come up with three ways you can look outside of yourself instead of inside in that situation. Perhaps it’s during family gatherings, holiday parties,etc. Lots of opportunity to think about this in the next 1 1/2 months. Come up with ways you can help and serve others, rather than worrying about yourself so much.
I hope that young man’s hiccups stopped. He might lose his sanity if they didn’t! Remember the hiccuping young man at that next party that you are feeling shy in, and step outside of yourself to make a difference to someone else there. Won’t this be a fun thing to try! Make sure to share your experiences with me when you come in!Love,
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen
PS Make sure you call ASAP to schedule an appointment to use your insurance and flex spending dollars this year. You LOSE them if you don’t USE them!