By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Last Sunday afternoon I happened to be at my home-office looking over Professor Turley’s website. He was updating his then recently posted Easter Sunday article and read the following change:
“We went to the open vaccination location but it had a three block line that barely moved with hundreds of people. We finally bailed rather than spend hours in line on Easter Sunday but hope to get the family vaccinated soon.”
I had to ponder how I might deal with the upcoming vaccination event, that I might be better served in adopting a more relaxed approach, such as how and why I avoid the rush to exit an airliner having just arrived at the gate.
The only time in my lifetime, if memory serves me correctly, that I was required to wait in a line to be vaccinated was in the 1970s at my grade school. The teacher told us that it was time to go into the gymnasium and get ready for a shot. Each of us in class lined up, rolled up our sleeve, then someone used a pistol-like injection device on us. I have a ring-like mark on my shoulder so I wonder if it was from that experience. I have no idea what the shot was for, perhaps Small Pox, Swine Flu, or Prophylaxis against The Vapours. It must have been important, though it was unexpected. At the time getting some strange shot seemed rather ordinary part of being in school, or should I say it was “innocuous”. I suspect not seeing adults lose their marbles over germs like they do today forestalled any potential worry amoung us children then.
Now today, I see adverts of vaccination centers with dozens if not hundreds of people lining up, resolved to be vaccinated as quickly as they can. It almost seems as some kind of irony that we have been ordered previously by politicians and bureaucrats to avoid each other under all circumstances and yet now we are now expected to be sardined together in a matrix of lines for hours to be cured of this dreaded disease. I have to wonder if the activation time for the vaccine to be effective in the body is quicker than the possibility of being infected by a virus carrier cloistered among everyone else in the building or on the line. But it seems it must since government knows everything, and what is best for us all.
Instead of engaging in such headaches, I would say another approach might be to stay at home, perhaps celebrate Easter with family as our host suggested, or do something relaxing rather than waiting in line. So how is that similar to deplaning an airliner? Well, here it is.
The typical and usual situation on arriving at the destination terminal when flying as a commercial airline passenger is that as soon as the plane arrives at the gate, and the signal is given by the captain, about a third of the passengers rush to stand up and jockey for position in the aisle, all of them vying to secure an extra foot toward the exit. Some are even contented to contort themselves into what seems to be discomfort, having been forced to lean over due to the overhead luggage bins looming over them. And there they remain, contorted and impatient, yet determined to leave without a second to spare, sometimes ten minutes or so. I finally decided I had enough of that.
I tend to prefer the back part of the airline, mainly because I am too stingy to fly Business Class or worse. (Not that I denigrate First Class because after all, if someone is willing to pay five times as much to take off and land at the same time as I do, I’ll take advantage of the potential lower cost for my tickets.) And when the plane arrives at the gate, and everyone goes prompt-critical to rush and remain standing, I just sit-back and relax. They can do the standing and be upset at how long it is taking. When the last man standing leaves, I can then get up at my own pace and calmly depart without the hassle of bumping around other people’s luggage. In the end, I probably only lost a few seconds to the penultimate passenger who was formerly the last man standing in line. But I suspect he might have been the most upset passenger because he was forced by his seating arrangement to wait the longest, yet I CHOSE to be the last to leave and consequently had nothing holding me back. Sure, it might be simply a matter of semantics, but one’s frame of mind often dictates the amount of stress endured in life.
As an aside, an additional source of wonder is how many of these folks again rush to the baggage claim, only to wait yet again. (And thus making their rush to deplane rather moot) This time they hold fast for the arrival of their suitcases–each weary passenger staring longingly at the doorway from which their luggage will finally emerge. You have to wonder why these people have so much cargo, and for me so little. I think Yali might appreciate that I never check a bag just so that I don’t have to experience that merry-go-round. I also found it much less burdensome to travel lightly. It might require a visit to a public laundry while on holiday, but then again when travelling in foreign countries you see more of reality within their society at a laundromat than sticking only to the tourist constructs and receiving a prefabricated version.
But in returning to my story of vaccination guns, germs, and steel nerves: To stand in line for hours or to schedule it out a later and only wait a few minutes? I guess it’s just a matter of perspective on what is more important and beneficial.
By Darren Smith