ANINERGY

365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

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Day 99“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” Confucius

I assume you have all heard the song R.E.S.P.E.C.T by Aretha Franklin. If I had the voice for it and knew the lyrics well, I would have shouted it out loud today.

I got into a quite heated discussion with a man in the lift line in Verbier that sneaked his way through and split an elderly couple from taking the lift together. He shrugged his shoulders and went ahead, despite me telling him that the ‘single line’ doesn’t work like that. If you are ‘single,’ you wait until there is an empty space, you just don’t go ahead of the crowd without any consideration to the people who have patiently waited to take the lift together.

Behind him came his friend that pushed me aside as well to get ahead, even though I was next in line to get onto the lift. So I ask him what he was doing and he responded obnoxiously that he also was in the single line – as if that justified his outrageous behavior…

I told him to step back – he didn’t – so I decided to hold him back by his jacket and told him off plus pushed myself past him to get on the lift. This might sound shocking to you. Why did I not just let him pass? Well, I asked myself the same question…

I think that it must have been my background from skiing in Norway growing up where I experienced this behavior quite a bit. Perhaps since then it has been ingrained in me to defend myself in ski lift lines. I thought these two young men were just too obnoxious and since the lift attendant did nothing to organize the lift line, I wanted to create some fairness and order. I did not like to see these men get away with this disrespectful behavior.

The incident today reminded me once again about the profound differences in the ski-lift-line culture between Europe and North America. Where I come from, the culture and custom is often to step over each other’s ski’s to get ahead and get in first; pushing, sneaking and moving forward in line can seem to be acceptable behavior. This is the result of a system that completely lacks organization and structure.

It was therefore a revelation when I first saw how they organized the lift lines in the U.S and Canada. Many places in Europe could learn a lot from how they operate the lift lines in there, where respect for one another as well as trust in a well functioning lift-line system where the goal for the lift attendant is to fill every chair lift.

It must be a much more fulfilling job as well for the lift attendant to actually perform a much appreciated function, not only to be slowing down the lift for children or stopping it during emergencies, but to keep the lift-line moving quickly and efficiently.

Even if I will not start to sing the song RESPECT, I will continue to try and encourage respect, and not stay silent in front of the disrespectful…

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