This is the story of a lady named Jane. Jane is an overworked mom traveling with her three kids, her sister, her sister’s kids and her elderly parents. Jane packed the family up with each person handling two large carry-on bags, oversized coats, purses, and personalities. Jane is overworked and tired, she deserves a vacation. She deserves a vacation. Jane waits in line, as we all have to. Yet, to her, a line is merely a suggestion for her sprawling family and their overstuffed bags. As kids are bumping into others and nearly knock down the rope that keeps us peasants at bay, Jane laughs disruptively without a care in the world. After all, she’s going on vacation.
Jane is on my flight. Prior to boarding, Jane lines up causing unnecessary chaos as others have followed her lead. No one has started calling for boarding. The airline has to announce three times that they will be calling by row when the time comes. Hint: take a seat. Finally, Jane realizes that this too includes her and that she must wait her turn. While the line again is forming, Jane allows her entire family to go in and out of line so they can handle some last minute business. i.e. run to the bathroom, grab water (you get the idea). So while the rest of us have planned accordingly are stuck waiting in a line that continues to ebb and flow as more of her family decides to join. One family member has been left behind as the others board the plane. Instead of getting out of the line, as most would have done by now, Jane continues to communicate by yelling across the airport to her relative. Oh yes, she’s holding up the line. Once again, we wait till her family is served. We wait for Jane.
Ah, the landing. Yes! We are finally home. We gather our backpacks, the one bag we packed for our 10-day trip, and wait to get off the plane. (Yes, people it’s possible to not bring 5 pairs of shoes). Typically, you wait your turn to get off the plane as people exit slowly by row gathering their belongings and gain their bearings. You guessed it, not Jane. Jane is seated in the back yet, is one of the first off the plane. I was in row 5. How is this possible? Jane had clearly instructed her family to jump up as soon as the plane landed then stand in the aisle to not let anyone else pass through. Jane was in a hurry. Jane needed a vacation.
As I shrug off my extreme irritability, I remind myself that I’m lucky to be where I am and promise to keep my mouth shut. Who knows maybe I’ll never see Jane again. Unfortunately, I’m wrong and run into Jane again with her large, chaotic brood. This time, it’s at security. Yay!
Instead of following instructions, like waiting your turn and putting your belongings on the tray, she rushes through creating a backup as the bins are now stuck. She yells at the airline worker, who is explaining the rules, that she is in a hurry. Well, obviously. The airline worker sticks to the protocol as Jane paces back and forth setting the tone with her family and creating more obstacles for herself. Her entire family gets through the line, but one member is called to the side for extra security. Do you know what Jane does? She approaches the inspector and tells him they are in a hurry and asks if he can be done. This is it for me. In a time where safety is a top priority, you expect that the worker hurries through his job so that you can get on with your life?
As I reflect on this experience. I realize we are all Jane, the entitled traveler. We are so involved with our needs, our wants, and our preferences that we have become desensitized to the needs of those around us. Can you imagine if the airline worker had said, “you’re right I’ll stop and hope that this person isn’t a security threat.” Yet, this is the mentality we have. We expect people to make exceptions for us. We expect the government to do things for us. We expect people to bend to our will. After all, we deserve it.
In the light of the attacks that are happening all over the world, the attacks happening online, the attacks that are happening in your own backyards, how can you think you are more entitled to freedom, happiness, and love than others? It astounds me that people can be a racist when all humans come from the same strand of DNA. It astounds me that people hate someone for their religion, especially in America, when it was founded on celebrating this freedom. It astounds me that people are willing to create discord within their own families because they don’t agree with something they do or think. Life is too short to live like this. This is not love. Don’t be Jane.
Think of someone other than yourself and change the world.