Today I found myself inducted into the Mediators’ Mile High Club at 23,000ft when two young, remarkably similar looking girls seated in 16E and 16F needed my help.
In addition to kicking the back of my seat for no apparent reason, they were having some difficulty in deciding who should get to sit in the window seat.
As the volume increased, I leaned over the back of my seat in 15F and explained that, whilst I was on my way to sort out a very important, complex and high-stakes problem, I was more than up to the task of dealing with their little spat in the interests of all those seated in rows 15 through 17.
They graciously accepted my offer.
Thinking I would move directly to interests, I was most put out when neither stuck to the script of the parable of interests/positions bought to life by the famous orange story.
When I asked why they each wanted the window seat, I had expected one to say they wished to gaze out over NZ’s majestic Southern Alps and the other to say they wanted the seat because that’s where it said they should sit on their ticket (a fairly standard contest, I thought, between substantive and procedural interests).
But oh no, not a bit of it.
Sarah told me that it was all about an eye for an eye, as her sister had pushed her off a trampoline a day or two earlier.
Jessica had a different spin on it. It was, for her, all about her sister being the oldest twin by 22 minutes and for some inexplicable reason she was choosing right now, right here on this flight – with me crammed in like a sardine in front of them, to take a stand against the tyranny of age.
So, I did what every professional highly trained mediator at the top of their game would do.
I gave up my seat in 15F to Jessica.
Originally published on Huffington Post. Morton Deutsch, eminent psychologist, Columbia University professor, mentor extraordinaire, and one of the founders of the field of conflict resolution, died last March at age...By Peter T. Coleman