By Sunny Simon

On a recent vacation getaway my husband and I stopped at a popular bistro for dinner. We had eaten there before and enjoyed the menu offerings and casual atmosphere. Upon our arrival, we knew something had changed. Our first hint was the total chaos at the check-in desk. Three hostesses, each with their own seating system scurried around bumping into each other and murmuring hasty apologies to the guests lined up three deep. My inclination was to head out the door, but my husband, who excels in patience, convinced me otherwise.

After about twenty minutes we were shown to a table for six and then asked to wait while a booth for two was cleared. Eventually situated in a cozy area we chatted until the waiter took our drink orders. Ten minutes later he cruised our area letting us know there was a back-up at the bar, but assuring us two glasses of Chardonnay would arrive soon. When the wine arrived, we quickly announced our dinner orders knowing it would be awhile before our food appeared. Sipping on my wine I noticed the atmosphere around us was tense, diners grumbled about cold food and the voices of cranky hungry children rose several decibels too high.

Sometime later when Jonathan, our waiter, appeared empty handed, my husband inquired about our order. Without missing a beat and flashing a wide-mouth grin Jonathan assured us we would eat because the establishment “promises same day service.” At that, we all enjoyed a hearty laugh.

Jonathan’s comment flipped my simmering low-grade fume into an air of light-hearted folly. Clearly the restaurant was deep in the weeds and our waiter, determined to survive the night, used humor to defuse the situation. It did not upset us that our order was released from the kitchen in parts beginning with my entree. When my husband’s pasta dish appeared ten minutes later we shared a good laugh chalking it up to one of those nights when things were fated to run amok. Thanks to Jonathan’s remark, I reversed my thought process and found hilarity in a meal gone wrong.

As I surveyed my surroundings this time with an elevated mindset, I made a mental note to utilize humor more to reduce tension and manage emotions. Sharing laughter creates a connection and a bond with others.

Smiling at my husband I shared the quote: “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Offering up a silent thanks to the author of those wise words, and gratitude to Jonathan for his positive attitude, I deemed the night not a nightmare, but a success.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog,