Road Weary and Travel Worn Already

And so it begins. Perhaps not as dramatic as the battle for middle earth, but a chore nonetheless. We begin the day in San Angelo, one of the best airports in the world to go through a checkpoint. Normally. My after-market insoles earned my tennis shoes an extra swabbing down and I was chosen for a “random check!” The people here are friendly enough that she made it sound about like I had won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.

I realized this morning, after my earlier post, what I dislike about traveling today–it’s too much like going to the dentist (or the proctologist when you get randomly chosen for extra screening. I’ve had colonoscopies that were less traumatic than a pat down I once got leaving Orlando, Florida).

Our quest for safety, for constant vigilance, has put us all on the defensive. Admittedly, I’m not the most outgoing and friendly guy, but we are thrust into a locked down environment that begins with an immediate suspicion of the 150 or so people with whom we might end up stranded on the tarmac for 6 hours with no air or working toilets. (We might also fall 30,000 feet with them, but the tarmac stranding is much worse.)

I’m not sure technology has made it better. We ascend the stairs here, cell phones out, head phones on, and do everything we can to avoid meaningful eye contact. Heaven forbid I might have to carry on a conversation with a stranger. (Believe it or not, I’m not being sarcastic.) Having said that, I should note, in what might seem a contradictory statement that reflects my brain already weakened by airport air (that full-bodied mixture of diesel fuel and filtered air freshener), our willingness to block ourselves off from the people sitting next to us, while carrying on a private conversation with someone on a cell phone, strikes me as part of the problem. We don’t say hello, where are you headed, but I  know that the guy next to me has a business deal that just collapsed and the woman across the way has bad taste in men. Email, texting, the total collapse of boundaries, and cell phone use has distracted eveyone to the extent that no one really wants to talk to me but they don’t seem to mind if I listen to them.

Except that person over there who keeps looking over with the hint of a friendly smile. He worries me. He’s either a terrorist or his cell phone died. Maybe if I put my headphones on, he’ll take the hint.

Advertisements

About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Things I Read

And Things I Learned

Washington Monthly

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Joanne Jacobs

Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs

Inside Higher Ed

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

FiveThirtyEight

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Balloon Juice

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Scott Adams' Blog

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

%d bloggers like this: