On the flight back from Nova Scotia this week I sat behind a little old lady. I first noticed she was different than most people when she engaged her seat-mate in conversation. It turns out they had a lot in common, despite a 50 year age gap. Then I noticed how she interacted with the steward; delighted with everything he presented to her. Happy to see him. Flirtatious, even. Then I realized that was how she engaged with everyone: happy to see them.
She drank a bit of wine, which went straight to her head but in a pleasant way. The steward, enthralled, came and topped her glass up voluntarily, joking with her all the while. “Watch out,” she told him, “I’m a Newfie on the loose.”
By the time we left the airplane she had a small group of people yakking with her, sharing stories, wishing her the best time ever in her visit to her sister. It was amazing, the effect this 80-something, tiny dynamo had on everybody around her. Everyone wanted to be in her presence. All because she was happy to see them, whoever they were.
A lot is written about engagement in the world, being in the present and whatnot. I’m certain this woman has never read any of it. But when I’m a little old lady, I want to be like her.