lady with blonde hair and glasses on a plane

Such a Little Thing Makes Such a Big Difference

I have to write down today’s events before I collapse from first world-related travel gripes/exhaustion.

I flew to Omaha for a comedy festival, and the whole process took about 12 hours longer than it should have. My first flight out of Los Angeles was delayed for an hour, and then once we boarded the plane, we sat on the tarmac for another hour or so. I was in a row with two other women: one I later found out was Vietnamese, and one who was so Aryan she looked like a Viking (is that even correct? Were Vikings Aryans? I’m just saying she was THE WHITEST OF WHITES) — she was easily six feet tall, had almost white-blonde hair and glass blue eyes, and was probably a supermodel. The older Vietnamese lady’s seat was broken somehow, and was shifting and cutting into her back as she sat, so she called the flight attendant over and tried to explain. She had a thick accent and was trying to choose her words carefully, probably used to a lifetime of being misunderstood. The flight attendant was a little dismissive, with a kind of “Oh, it’ll be fine” attitude, an attitude that I find EXTRA infuriating, as it was what I got from my stepdad throughout my life whenever I expressed I was uncomfortable in any way. However, the beautiful young white woman chimed in, saying the seat was annoying her as well, and she was almost promptly moved. The older lady continued to try to express her feelings, until I nearly shouted at the flight attendant, “SHE IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SHE CANNOT SIT IN THIS SEAT AND NEEDS A NEW ONE.” Finally, a mechanic was called to come repair the chair (heh), and he soon deemed it unfixable, taping it up and assuring the flight attendant that the lady was right the whole time. She was then simply moved to the seat next to mine, the one the other lady had just vacated, and as we both settled in and buckled our belts, the lady turned to me with tears in her eyes, saying, “It’s because I’m not American! I’m Vietnamese!” I hugged her and told her I was sorry, and she shook her head when I asked if she needed anything, and I told her I thought she was right and that I understood, hoping it was some small comfort in that moment, just being seen and heard and acknowledged in a way that any human being would want to.

Because of the delay, I missed my connecting flight in Dallas, leaving me with an extra three or so hours to sit in the airport before the next flight to Omaha. As I sat, blasting my jams and looking at some Internet bullshit, an elderly black woman sat right next to me, motioning to the phone in her outstretched hand, asking for help. To be honest, I don’t know what language she was speaking — but she didn’t speak a word of English, and it took me a good few minutes to determine what it was she needed help with. After a bit of back-and-forth and a few creative hand gestures, I figured out she’d accidentally pressed a wrong button, and had brought up some weird text-edit thing (it was a type/brand of phone I’d never seen before) and had interrupted the previous call, and was trying to get that person back on the phone. I was able to get into the old call list and ring them back up, and she joyfully took the phone back from me as it rang, huge smile on her face. She walked away, phone to her ear, but only got a few steps before turning around to say what I assume was “Thank you,” which she followed up by blowing me a kiss. 

Finally I was able to board my connecting flight, only to then sit on THAT plane on the runway for three hours, due to some misfiled paperwork (or so said the pilot). I had to keep the gentle patience of those two women on my mind, to avoid having a breakdown after a day that was seemingly going on for longer than the allotted 24 hours. AND THEN during one point in that flight, the turbulence was so heart-stoppingly terrifying that I held the hand of the man next to me while he prayed for us in Spanish.

In closing, my point is: Fuck Trump.