Any time that I feel the need to be humbled I go on a trip that involves air travel. Even if I don’t feel the need, air travel still humbles me. Yet, it isn’t the flying itself. The humility, or rather, the humiliation, always happens while I am still on the ground in the terminal.
Normally, I feel like a competent, confident and capable person, but put me in an airport and within minutes of arrival I will feel stupid. This week, I experienced a double-dose of airport stupidity. The first dose happened when I was going through security.
There was a long line, so when they opened up a second line, they waved me over to it. I don’t know why, but for some reason it took a metaphorical cattle prod by an airport employee before I was headed down the correct chute and into the holding pen. I blamed it on the early hour of the morning, but she didn’t buy it. She saw “airport sheep” written all over me.
I managed to get aboard the aircraft without any further mishaps and had a pleasant flight to my destination, despite being haunted by the fact that when we landed there would be another opportunity for humiliation. After de-boarding, I tried to think positive. After all, I knew this airport very well, despite its magnitude, and thought I could successfully navigate out of it without behaving like livestock. I might have been able to pull it off, too, if I hadn’t decided to tackle the moving walkway challenge.
Perhaps early childhood escalator trauma is a contributing factor, but I just can’t seem to master getting on and getting off gracefully and this time was no exception. I don’t understand what is so difficult about stepping from one flat level surface to another flat level surface, but in the many tries I’ve made over the years I’ve only had a few smooth mounts and dismounts. Still, I always opt for the challenge, hoping that I will eventually become a polished professional.
Maybe this time, on my return trip home, I will allow a few extra minutes for mastering this once and for all. But, I doubt it. I’d look stupid riding it over and over again and I already feel stupid enough.