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Excerpted from Happiness Is an Inside Job by Sylvia Boorstein. Copyright © 2007 by Sylvia Boorstein. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"It does not matter one bit whose fault it is."

  Sylvia Boorstein
Happiness Is an Inside Job
, Part 1

It's always good to start with a story.

I was wending my way slowly, along with hundreds of people, back and forth through the cordoned-off lanes of an airport security line, when I became aware of the conversation of the two people right behind me:

"It's your fault!”

"What do you mean, ‘It's your fault'? It's your fault!"

"That's what I mean. It's your fault we're late."

"No, it's not. Prove it to me that it's my fault."

"I don't have to prove anything to you. It just is."

I glanced behind me, as if looking beyond them, and saw that they were young, casually dressed, and apparently (was it tennis rackets, golf gear?) were going on holiday together.

The Ping-Pong recriminations continued. "Your fault." "No, yours."

I had a momentary impulse to turn around and say, "Listen to me! It does not matter one bit whose fault it is. Either you'll be in time for your flight or you won't. And if you miss this flight, there will be others. What's more, you don't know that this flight is the best one to be on. Perhaps this one will have engine trouble and the next one will arrive safely. Relax! You are ruining the beginning of your holiday with a useless skirmish."

Of course, I didn't say anything. I think I could have gotten away with it if I had done it sweetly enough, but I imagined them telling someone later, "You won't believe what this wacky little old woman in the airport..." Anyway, eavesdropping and intruding are both impolite, even if unintended and well meaning.

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