Business in the Front…

Sometimes, in my season of grading forty essays in two days, I feel that by the end of the afternoon, my brain is hanging out the back of my head. It’s an odd image; I know. But there it is–I can feel it. My brain sort of dangles out, unspooled, in tresses. And then, as I rest, it starts to coil up again, until it retracts itself to its housing. 

I described this to James, poor man. I said my brain was out, and that I was going to soak it in a bath. He nodded. “What you mean,” he said, “is that it’s giving you a stress mullet.”

Yes. Yes, that it is exactly what I mean. This is why I married him.

(Originally posted January 24, 2018)

TS Ache

I would like to register a complaint. It’s not a screed, necessarily, as we have now returned to Iowa, three hours early, thanks to our luck, hustle, and gracious airport gate agents. But I would like to point out some bad behavior along the way. Here I go: 

Now, I couldn’t actually run a dojo on airport security clearance, but I am capable of an impressive scurry, and I can fling off my shoes with the best of them. I have no compunctions about occasional irradiation, and I can joke with most bag inspectors anywhere. “Ah. That’s Metamucil. It’s meant to prevent explosions.” See how pleasant I can be?

But today I had a time. It started with the iTicket boarding pass, which I swear is the obverse of the child-proof cap, where your odds of getting it to work decrease by 5 percent every year you are over 30—unless you are James. I hate the iTicket boarding pass. I realize that it’s eco-friendly, but the saved paper pales in comparison to the amount of greenhouse emissions I personally dispense through both my anxiety and my bluster over the phone, as it times out, and switches to another pass, and then drops all of that in order to present me with my bookmarks, or emojis, or its count of how many steps I’ve taken in my post-Thanksgiving, airport waddle.

It—the waddle—had brought me to the LAX security line, which moved much faster than I did so early in the morning. I admit that; the line got along. I was still fussing with my iDoo-dah when it was my turn to present my documents to the guard lady at the podium. If I’m being honest, it took five or six seconds for me to combobulate. And in the middle of all that, she said, “No. I’m sorry.” She hollered at the line. “I’m going to help the next person who’s ready.” I dug in my wallet. She said, “Y’all need to be ready.” She turned to her colleagues. “You people can’t give me someone like this.”

Like this? Five seconds! Maybe six! That’s a long time for, say, a rodeo. But around these parts, the only chapping that was happening was to my hide. I said, “Here’s your damn phone.” But she wouldn’t touch the phone. It had switched to fb—and I must say, I was not so happy to see you lovelies. Neither was she. I scanned my ticket doodle. She gave me a grumptious look. “Yeah,” I said. “Merry Christmas.”

Now, for all I know, this security lady had been at her perch since the day after Thanksgiving—or even the day before that. I imagine that the horde she has managed has been sleepy, surly, sticky, and slow. Most especially slow, I gather. But perhaps like you, I do worse when somebody’s yelling at me in front of a few hundred people. After this little exchange, I put my phone away—somewhere. I shoved my ID into my pocket, and had to fish it out again before I went through the security scanner. I didn’t put my computer in the right tray. On the positive side, some other TSA agent thought I was either inept enough or deserving enough to get some help with my carry-on. But honestly, after all that, I almost wrote LAX a letter. With its disassemble-reassemble dance and random rummage, an airport security line is odious enough. It only gets less pleasant—and less efficient—when someone on either side of the line issues public reprimands. I have since vented my spleen to you dearies (and to poor James). And for the most part, I’ve gotten on with my day. But incivility like that will give at least one person a long holiday season.

(Originally posted November 26, 2017)