During my first flight after the hip replacement, I was a portrait of patience and tolerance. Mostly, this was because my incredibly slowness meant that I was the one holding up all the lines and stopping traffic. Back then, my attitude was, "yeah, it sucks to have to wait in line, but it's better than getting your leg cut off then put back on again in the wrong configuration." I was the Buddha of the Bank Line. The Gandhi of the Grocery store. If you took 5 minutes to select the exactly perfect box of Tic Tacs while standing in line, I would merely smile beatifically, basking in my own newfound sense of perspective.
Right now: not so much. Over the past year, I've gotten faster and with every second I shave off my sprint to the boarding gate, my tolerance levels wear a little thinner. For example, this morning I was waiting in line in the Champaign airport to go through security and the young couple ahead of me with a baby were receiving a failing grade in the Putting Your Shit in the Little Trays and Walking Through the Metal Detector 101. Could not do it. Could not.
They stared at the baby buggy as if it might fold itself up and slide itself through the screening machine. They gestured helplessly. They expressed surprise at being asked to remove their shoes, despite the three signs posted informing people to do this. The woman walked through with her cell phone in her pocket, then walked through again with her keys in her pocket, and while I fully understand that this woman's brain is probably fried with sleep deprivation, I had a brief flash of wanting to inform her that if she doesn't know that her cell phone or her keys or the change in her pocket or Lord knows what else is made of metal, then she's too stupid to reproduce and she should probably give the baby to me. (Part of this could have been the coffee deprivation and the fact that it was 6:30 a.m.).
I have no idea why this is. You'd think that the fact that I spent a good three months taking 20 minutes to walk around the block would give me some empathy towards other people's struggles. Incorrect. Instead, I want to go around telling people, "Look. I'm gimping along on a semi-detached ass and a hip socket that clunks more than the dialogue in any of the Twilight movies, and I seem to be doing just fine in the 'taking care of my shit' department. Please explain to me why you, with two working legs and two working arms, are finding the act of taking off your shoes, putting them in a bin, and running them through the screening machine to be so insanely difficult."
Alas, my bitchery has earned me an ass-kicking in the traveling karma department. First, my flight was stranded on the tarmac because of storms in Detroit for 2 hours. Then, it finally landed in Detroit was was delayed for 3 hours. So now I'm sitting in the Metro Detroit airport trying not to stare at a skinhead who has a swastika tattooed on his scalp and skeleton arms tattooed over his actual arms. (If you're going to be a neo-nazi, wouldn't you pick a place other than Detroit to live?). An elderly woman is standing by the gate, clutching her ticket and saying loudly, "For cat's sake! It's going to be another hour? Oh, for cat's sake!" (Somewhere, Mika is approving of a person substituting the word 'cat' for the word 'God'). It's clear that I have some serious atoning to do to the Gods of Travel if I ever want to get to Ottawa (I'm heading here for the Canadian national wheelchair rugby championships). Maybe I should sacrifice a chicken.