Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No Parking, Except for Bob

This morning I was flying back from a trip to the Seattle area. Going through airport security there was a Catholic priest (or someone wearing Catholic priest regalia), who had a phenomenal amount of carry on baggage. Far too much for him to handle himself: hee had a roll aboard, a cardboard box wrapped for shipping and two large shopping bags. He was being assisted by a woman wearing a stewardess uniform. She had crew stickers on her bag but was not flying as crew. (Both were in the check in line with us as well). She helped him get into the first class security line and then to jump to the front of the security, as they bumped around with all these bags, dropping them and forcing everyone to make room.

I wondered if I was being filmed for candid camera, or perhaps they were reenacting "Catch Me If You Can." The experience left me with a lingering discomfort, however, that went beyond the idea of a 'man of the cloth' expecting special treatment.

Everyone wants to feel special. We all want the best parking space, to go first in line at Universal Studios, to get the roomy seats on the airplane. But there is something very precious about American culture that I believe is based on the idea that we try to give everyone equal access. You may say that only applies to 'big picture' stuff like education, voting, food, jobs, housing. But the things we do in our daily lives: waiting on lines, sitting in restaurants, buying tickets, affect our attitudes to the big picture stuff. And I see a trend toward more people trying to get privileges, and fewer people worrying about equal access.

Ok that's all I have time for, they're calling my flight.