So I’m sitting here at the airport, my plane left one hour and forty-two minutes ago. I arrived 28 minutes before my flight took off at 6. I’ll admit to you it was all my fault, I was two minutes late, but I won’t admit it to them. I walked up in a hurry to sign in, no one is in line and I'm sure I can slide on to the gate before they begin boarding. But, the computer rejected my confirmation number, it automatically stops letting people check in 30 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave. It is now 5:34 and I ask someone from a different airline to help me. “Nothing I can do” he says, “if the computer doesn't let you sign in you can call the 800 number” Even after I explain it’s an emergency, that I’m attending a funeral on the other side of the country, he stares at me blankly and goes back to his typing. I’m floored. Here we are in a tiny airport, plenty of time to check my person, I’ve no extra baggage or anything, and we can’t do anything. A matter of yards to step but we can’t do anything. I spend until 605 pleading with different airport staff, no other passengers around to help, I see at least 7 people in different uniforms milling about, but no one will look at me with a hint of compassion in their eyes. Nothing to do but watch my plane take off with so many empty seats.
It’s sad to think how obsolete those 7 people I watched were. Some are security, so I’m sure their presence as breathing bodies will continue to hold value for about two more years. But as for anyone related to customer service, they can say go ahead goodbye to a paycheck and benefits because 1) no one in the industry cares about customers and 2) old people are learning to use computers.
What brought me to a sob is how easily it seems they accept this. They are perfectly comfortable not exercising their Humanity. Now that’s a topic I just cant stand. It bubbles up in my belly and I fear for our souls. I wonder, if we don’t act as humans have the ability to, if we allow ourselves to be scared out of life, what are we here for? The loss of art, the standardization of schools, hollowing of traditions, exploiting of resources and absence of compassion signifies a death of the human race. Without any of those qualities we are truly ants and robots. I am heartbroken to see this attitude in every infrastructure: health care, mining, litigation, journalism, education, industry. Every person in a position of power (which is every person) jumps at the opportunity to say it’s out of their hands, “orders come from the top” “I don’t make the rules” “I don’t know why it is this way” I hear and see their defeat. Who really wants to be powerless? I’ll tell you; it’s people who have to do help terrible things that want to be powerless.
How can we get it back? By reminding each other, loving each other. Love is the arc enemy of fear, as light to dark: fear doesn’t stand a chance. This country is being funneled into a cloud of fear. People in fear aren’t thinking about what to live for, they are only afraid to stop breathing. I believe there is nothing to fear. Not in death, not in the highs and lows that give us a taste for reality, not in loneliness or in the night. There is nothing to fear but fear itself, so let’s act human at any price.
I have a big dream in life to create a place where people are inspired to be human. I can’t see the future, surely wouldn’t have believed anyone five years ago who told me where I am now, but I know that faith will bring about my wildest dreams if I hang by it’s side. Just to let you know, rhetorical cafe is on the way, and it needs the help of every pair of lungs in the world if it’s going to play a part in helping us remember our neighbor’s name and needs. That starts with you, Asheville.
One Monkey Don’t Stop The Show, So Get On Board -Gillian Welch