FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Entire Lives

Saturday, August 15th, my best friend Joan drove me to Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. I had a reservation to fly to Albuquerque to visit my son J, his wife L, and the darling-est grandson, Mr. Poop. I breezed through security without having to remove shoes, toiletries, or laptop, stopped at the board to check the flight, expecting to see “On Time” or “Delayed”, but instead read “Canceled.” Walked to the TSA desk and was told to proceed to the gate. The line to talk with an agent was Disneyesque and moving glacially.

No airline employee interacted with those of us waiting for information. I phoned J, told him the news. He said he’d see what he could find, called shortly after, and said Twitter was aflame with outraged travelers. No explanation. I heard people nearby mention the possibility of a terrorist threat. Eventually, J texted that there was a power outage or technical glitch at a tower near D.C.

I called Southwest’s toll-free number to hear the message that I could receive a call back in 82 minutes.

The adorable coed in front of me said to her mother, “My entire life is in that checked luggage.” I told her that her “entire life” was simply on hold because her luggage wasn’t in transit.

People were scrambling, on their phones, trying to find an airport with outgoing flights, and then talking (among their group) about securing rental cars to a particular city.

I heard someone say, “I don’t want to buy the plane, I only want to inquire about a charter.”

So many people, wanting their needs met.

And I thought of the millions of Iraqi and Afghanistan refugees, forcibly displaced by war, the horrifying legacy of U.S. foreign policy, entire families forced to leave their countries to find safe haven, men, women, children, many who were infants, toddlers. Women who’d just given birth or whose due date was the day that fleeing was necessary. The sick, the elderly. The horrifying legacy of U.S foreign policy.

I considered the estimated 9 million Syrian refugees who’ve left their homes since the Syrian civil war. Human beings who take nothing but their children’s hand and perhaps a small bag with water, an article of clothing, something meaningful, just one item. Maybe the address of a relative who’s left months or years prior—a name scribbled on a piece of paper. This is an “entire life.”

And there we stood, Saturday, August 15th, the privileged, with our phones, our tablets, our access, bitching about a canceled flight.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail