I realize that I’m in the secluded little airport zone right now, and what everybody outside of the TSA–screened world is hearing may be a little different.
I have mixed feelings tonight. I’m in Newark airport for the next 19 hours or so, planning which spot on the floor I’m going to claim for a snooze. The reason I’m here is because my first flight was cancelled, so they rebooked me to fly out of a different city. But that flight was delayed, so I missed my overnight flight to Switzerland, and there isn’t another one until the next evening.
So that’s why I’m here.
Or, the reason behind the reason, what everyone waiting in line is upset about: someone in one of the Chicago towers tried to kill himself, apparently by setting himself on fire. That shut down the Chicago airport, which messed up seemingly every other flight in the US.
And this is why I have mixed feelings. It seems like everyone flying in the US knows about this guy’s attempt to meet death. What has gone on in his life to bring him to the point where a horrific, painful, and public death seemed to be the best option for him?
But I haven’t heard anyone mention the woman in Oklahoma who was beheaded by an enraged coworker, or the other worker who stabbed.
I’m not going to rate these events as “which one is worse;” both are horrible and heartbreaking. Yet which one am I hearing more about? It’s the one man who “had the gall” to let part of his life leak out into ours and disrupt our stressful travel plans.
We can’t notice every terrible thing that happens in our world, but maybe we can make sure our perspective isn’t too skewed. I know air travel is frustrating and ridiculously unreliable to begin with, but today I think we can manage having our flights messed up and getting stuck in customer service lines.
I think I need to take a bit of my own medicine, the mental advice I gave to the businessmen beside me: in the course of my life, how badly is this going to ruin anything?
Not that bad. It’s tough now, but it’ll be over in 24+ hours.