Something strange happens to people when they enter the airport. I see it all the time. As the sliding glass doors whoosh open, a look of dubiety rushes over a travelers’s face. They seem to forget all the procedures and question everything. “How do I check my bag? Do I have the tickets? How long is security going to take? Am I going to miss my flight?” Maybe it is the stress of the journey, which sometimes can be arduous, that causes their panic. But we all seem to fall victim to it.
Once they are past check-in and bag drop, then comes the obstacle course of TSA pat downs and full body scanners. There is a tension that seeds itself right there in the security lines. The absolute point were you always want to play it cool (its the cops!) becomes the exact point of distress. Filed in like cattle being sent down the shoot for branding. Now, the man wants to see your ID and give you the once over. Then it's, “Take off your belt and shoes, take everything out of your bag!” So you want me to disrobe and unpack? Seems legit. Heaven forbid you get popped for a random “screening”. “Um, ME? But I am Pre-Check! UGH.”
On to the other side, a quiet chatter takes hold of the terminal. We carry those sleepy eyes. Yet they are filled with hope and the prospects behind any given trip or destination. Every one is going somewhere. And we are all going together. Why then must we jostle in the boarding lanes? Why must you air your priority status pretension? “Please wait until your boarding group is called, you’ll need to step aside.” They should board from the back forward so the Richies wouldn’t be forced to look at us peasants or cower in shame as we shuffle past to the back of the plane. And don’t ever get me started on the inevitable upstream swimmer. Traveling can be stressful. Which is why it is so important to smile, be polite and try to accommodate each other. Talk to your seat mates. Help the old lady lift her bag to the overhead bin. Say “Please” and “Thank You” to the flight attendants. We will all get to where we are going that much sooner and smoother.