There is no greater observation deck on society than an airport during a busy holiday.
At it's basic level, it is great sport to watch and wager (tip: wager with an infant, you'll usually win) on which traveler's are departing from the local area to go visit...or are they returning from whence they came? Ah, it is a shame they restrict non-ticketed passengers from seeing more of the action.
Yes, today we were back at the airport. The lines were extraordinary and the people's reactions were quite entertaining. Here are few standouts:
Sheepish: Ethan and I watched as hundreds upon hundreds of folks entered the airport and pushed past that annoying line of people with bags that were blocking their way - what could they be doing there? - only to find out that the line they were rude to was the very line they had to go stand in. In their haste, they failed to recognize that they could not just walk up to the counter; they had to endure the long, snakelike line of people that was filled mostly with other, indignant, sheepish people that did the same thing.
Pompous: Arrrgg, my least favorite. Their scowls and upturned noses say it all: "Lines and carrying my own bags are for other people." "Can't you see that I am (pretty, rich, wearing blue...whatever) and that I deserve to go first?" People are not born this way, but they sure find a way to grow into their entitled state of mind. It is a sad day too when people allow it by actually caving in to their demands.
All-That-And-A-Bag-Of-Chips: Normally I playfully mock this type, but the day after Christmas is a fun time to see what Santa brought people. To me, what a person chooses to display (new clothes, new toys, etc.) right after Christmas is a window into the personal tastes of that person. Perhaps that is why I don't wear anything so obviously new right after Christmas. The kids with the logo hoodies, the 20-somethings with the new mp3 players and cell phones, the women with the crispy new purses and sweaters and the grandparents with the new ball cap and sweat suits. If you take time to notice, the newness and the recipients reaction to them, it is pretty obvious, and enjoyable. Hopefully, they gave something as special as they apparently received.
Grateful: Some folks were aglow, and my guess it was not due to the eggnog or gifts as much as the opportunity to be around their family during the holiday (or in fairness, maybe they were grateful that they finally go to go home??). In either case, they bore a comfortable, appreciative look like a baby who just got burped.
Intrepid: There was a young man who I recognized as a US Marine in the line today. He was not dressed in uniform, but he carried himself like many Marines and Former Marines (there are no ex-Marines I am told) I know and his nap sack carried his name and USMC insignia. Plus there was his look: Anticipatory, Proud and Appreciative of what he has. He was going back to the theatre of war, I'm certain of it. I don't suspect too many other people detected this Marine's presence or if they did perhaps, they were too busy to give him any special attention. Nonetheless, he accepted my nod of acknowledgement and appreciation. Good for him that he was able to see family and friends over the holiday before going back to work. Hopefully he will be home to enjoy next Christmas too.
Now that the we are on the downhill side of the excessive holiday season, folks are returning their Chia Pets to mall for something different, going back to work, eating leftovers, shopping (!) for end of the season 'bargains' and maybe even still enjoying out of town guests.
In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give
up, that makes us rich.- Henry Ward Beecher
While all of this happening, we often take for granted that there are also thousands of men and women who did not get a chance to blink during the holidays. Spill apple cider in your lap while driving and wipe out a telephone pole? Your local Police, Fire and/or Rescue Personnel will be at your side in mere minutes to render aid. Additionally, the military employs an all volunteer armed force all over the world, including of course in war zones. Wars don't take naps and theirs is a rodeo that does not stop. And neither does the worry and loneliness for many military families that spent this holiday without connecting to their US Serviceman or woman.
So in between the leftover pie, recycling the boxes and wrapping paper and sneaking a ride down the driveway on little Joey's new skateboard, why not take a moment to thank publicly or privately the people that make our lifestyle so indulgent?
Because for us, the rodeo is an option. For them, it is part of the job.