Details of a Koru Club spat were released by the courts last week.
A woman became upset with Air New Zealand staff in late 2018. Some of her family of 8 weren't meant to be in a regional lounge. This was pointed out and angry scenes ensued.
Her actions that day set in motion a chain of events which would ultimately cost her more than $30,000. As Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote: "How much more grievous are the consequences of anger…than the circumstances that aroused them in us."
I too have been getting angry over the little things lately. One day last week I flipped someone off at a roundabout, I ripped my curtains off the rail because the tracks weren't working and I humiliated myself in front of the rugby at my local pub.
On each occasion the rage made things worse. It always does. Life is a series of events. You can't control most of them. You can however control your reaction to these events. You can be calm and logical or you can throw a massive tanty.
It would appear our Koru woman choose the latter option. She was travelling with her husband and their six kids to Auckland. They were club members, their six kids were not.
Under Koru Club policy, members are allowed to invite a maximum of one guest. Court documents described "the applicant and members of her family as being very loud, disruptive, and intimidating during their dealings with the lounge hostess over their entitlement to use the lounge."
"Members of the applicant's family called the lounge hostess stupid and racist, and mocked and loudly mimicked her voice when she greeted other passengers entering the lounge."
In the list of things that matter in life, being or not being in the Koru lounge at a regional airport would surely be near the bottom. A year flight ban and a $30,000 ruling later the woman must be asking herself if it was worth it.
Seneca the Younger put it this way: "Anger is just proof of how unrealistic your expectations are."
The Koru incident made it clear the woman does not live in a world where you can take six children who are not members into the lounge. That is not going to change by getting angry at a staff member.
Equally I don't live in a world in which curtains are easy to hang. The assumption I do is going to cost me however much new curtains, rails and wall repairs are worth.
To deal with my anger I'm going back to the ancient Stoics. I love them. I've written about them here before. These guys worked out that anger is all in your head.
Terrible and annoying things are going to happen, people will treat you badly, this is guaranteed in life. You can't control every event but you can control how you react. You can take a few seconds. Take a breath and respond in a calm and logical manner. Your life will be happier and more successful if you do.
If the great slave philosopher Epictetus had seen me ripping my curtain rail from the window he would have said.
'Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them. It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. No man is free who is not master of himself'.
If the Marcus Aurelius had seen my flipping off that Toyota Vitz at the roundabout in Royal Oak last Sunday he would have said "It isn't manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human. A real man doesn't give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength."
And if he saw the Koru family getting upset with an Air New Zealand staff member he would have told them: "You don't have to turn this into something. It doesn't have to upset you".
So next time something bad happens, maybe don't throw a mass tanty. Chilling out could save you $30k.