Posts Tagged ‘Airports’

Next week is Thanksgiving.  That means one of my favorite annual events.

Not the parade or the turkey or the sheer joy of hanging out with some of my favorite people for no better reason than eating too much pie.  I love all that, but the event I’m speaking of has become every bit as much a Thanksgiving tradition as those balloons making their way from Columbus Circle to Herald Square.

Each year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the TV news crews go to the airport.  There, whichever reporter is newest or drew the short straw asks people about their holiday travel experience.  It’s genius.  Every year, as thought is the first time it’s ever happened, people are furious that everyone in America can’t fly at the same time.  And if, since winter is upon us, weather is bad? Well-heh-hell the interviews are Oscar worthy.

I never cease to be amazed.  And yet, it’s somehow the perfect metaphor for the day the country sets aside each year for Thanksgiving.

As Americans, we expect everything.  When we don’t get it, we are not only disappointed, we’re enraged.  How could “they” not have built a fleet of airplanes big enough for everyone in the America to fly on the same day even though we won’t be able to use them the rest of the year? How could “they?” This year promises to be especially entertaining since we are adding the unreasonable expectation that we fly in absolute safety but without enforcing security measures because they’re “too personal” and “a hassle.”

That’s correct, people are calling for civil disobedience over security scans designed to keep bombs, like the one last Christmas, off the planes.  I wonder if anyone on the flights from Boston on 9/11 would mind if someone “touched their junk” to avoid plowing into the Twin Towers or the Pentagon? Some jerk actually threatened to have airport security arrested over “his junk” when they gave him a pat down after he refused the security screening.  The outrage is priceless and sooooooo American, as if flying is a right or something.

We want there to be planes enough to fly all of us simultaneously but we want to fly with $5 tickets we got at cheapsk8s.com in perfect security without having to have our underwear checked for bombs even though that’s where the last one was.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rather than being thankful that we can make the journey across the country in a matter of hours that took weeks or months only a hundred years ago, we line up for the cameras to bitch about the miracle.  Drowning in blessings, even in tough times, we complain about the package that our gifts came in rather than saying thank you.  Americans could have a bad time at an orgy.

I think we have in mind a version of holidays — and life for that matter – that we compiled out of storybooks, movies and TV specials.  We have our hearts set on things being the way we’d hoped or worse yet, the way we remember they used to be even though they never were.  Then no matter what happens, when it is reality and not fantasy, we cannot help be let down.

More holidays and lives are ruined by expectations than anything that actually happens.

We are a country built on rising expectations.  We expect life to be better with each successive generation.  It’s served us well.  We work very hard and we have achieved so much.  Yet unsated expectation keeps happiness always at bay.

I think the problem may be with our bettermometers.  Each degree of our success is measured materially.  For things to be “better” we must have bigger houses, or incomes, or just more and more stuff.  I’m not really sure, beyond the process of modernization, how much better we can live than we do.  Yet our expectations of success, as measured by our broken bettermometers, tell us that no matter how far we’ve come, its’ not far enough.  No matter how much I have there’s always more that I don’t.

It’s the expectations that keep us unsatisfied, even after our massive turkey dinners.

What if we chose to measure “better” in the number of homeless we got off the street? What if we took pride in how many poor kids we fed or how lavish the educations we provided all children? What if we congratulated ourselves for great the healthcare we provided for everyone no matter what? I think we might actually make room to “feel” thankful if we jettisoned a little of our overstock of selfish.  If we look for what we can give or are just grateful to be able to give what we’re already giving instead of obsessing with we can get, we take expectation and disappointment out of the equation.

That might be something to be thankful for while we’re waiting to be frisked.



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