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

July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
Kim Ives
Haiti’s Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal
John Carroll Md
Dispatch From Haiti: Trump and Breastfeeding
Alycee Lane
On Heat Waves and Climate Resistance
Ed Meek
Dershowitz the Sophist
Howard Lisnoff
Liberal Massachusetts and Recreational Marijuana
Ike Nahem
Trump, Trade Wars, and the Class Struggle
Olivia Alperstein
Kavanaugh and the Supremes: It’s About Much More Than Abortion
Manuel E. Yepe
Korea After the Handshake
Robert Kosuth
Militarized Nationalism: Pernicious and Pervasive
Binoy Kampmark
Soft Brexits and Hard Realities: The Tory Revolt
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Localization: a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
Kevin Zeese - Nils McCune
Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?
Chris Wright
The American Oligarchy: A Review
Kweli Nzito
Imperial Gangster Nations: Peddling “Democracy” and Other Goodies to the Untutored
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail