dis*ser*vice : INJURY, HARM, MISCHIEF
My form cut through the empty airport like a knife. A sharp right after security, my barefeet bounced off of carpeted floors – I HAD to hold that flight. I didn’t feel anything. Normally I would have been winded and felt the banging of my foot bones against the ungiving concrete under the thin carpet. Gate 16 – which way is it!?
“Come on, don’t be like that.” The agent at the check-in desk spoke sweetly into the telephone to her co-worker at the boarding gate in that way that a woman speaks to a man when she wants something and KNOWS she can get it. “You know you don’t push back for another ten minutes….ok, she’s coming NOW – she’s hurrying.”
Our fate left to unpredictable and often turbulent HUMAN NATURE. For a simple skipped lunch break or lover’s spat we could be rerouted from DC back to NY. A “day trip” involuntarily becomes a “two-day” trip -sans accommodation. An overnight stay at a New York City hotel in August wasn’t in the budget and sleeping in an airport chair is out of the question for a 58 year old mother of six with achey bones. At home, there’s a five year old crying who won’t sleep until mommy gets back. And his brother – the babysitter – who leaves for work at 4:00am, long before the first NY-DC flight even boards. Who will stay with the little one? Now there will be TWO people who don’t make it to work the next day – ONE of which may lose his job for it. If he loses his job someone else loses their priveledges to fly as parent of an airline employee – just like that, GONE. Not far away, a co-worker of one of the travelers surveys her stash. She has spent WEEKS planning this birthday suprise, bought all of the confetti and nonesense to decorate her friends cubicle and will silence her alarm well before the dawning of the day to leave for the office and get started. But the birthday girl won’t make it – she’ll be stuck in New York….