After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost."
Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be. (via oliviacirce)
When I lose hope in the world, I remember this poem.
I’m really glad I read that.
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #280
You know you’re getting old when… You throw your back out on the toilet. You shave your ears. Your second wife calls your first wife “ma’am.” You’re genuinely excited when your prescriptions arrive in the mail. You read the obits in the newspaper to check the ages of the dead people. You read a newspaper. You’re bummed out that the smokin’ hot chick from Body Heat now looks like William Shatner in drag. You say “bummed out.” Women your age have real breasts and artificial hips. Masturbation leaves you winded. You try to amuse the kid hooking up your Blu-ray player by telling him about Betamax. You pee in morse code — dots and dashes — and have to look down to see when you’re done. Your car radio is set to “classic rock” so you have something to switch to during NPR pledge drives. Your doctor says things like, “that’s normal for a man your age” and “consider yourself lucky.” Beneath your chin is what appears to be a neck skin hammock. Beneath your penis is what appears to be two ping pong balls hanging from a flesh-colored bolo tie. You choose your new car because it offers great lumbar support and convenient cup holders. Watching “The Who” perform at the Superbowl made you inconsolably sad. You wonder if the orgasm you’re about to have will actually end your life. Your doctor tells you a new medication will reduce the amount of semen in your body and your only response is, “so what.” Your car radio is set to “classic rock” so you have something to… oh, wait, I already did that one.
— (via gramazon3)
I’ll show you a letter on Anthem Blue Cross stationery I got back when Bush was still president and Obamacare was still Newt Gingrich’s plan that never happened.
It says “denial of benefits” on it, but what it is, when the only thing keeping you alive is a very expensive feeding tube, is a letter from a private, employer-provided insurance company’s Death Panel.
My doctor had no input in the decision. The experts providing care had no input in the decision. Just the insurance company’s reviewer, who decided that the continuing care was “not medically necessary”. Which, in context, was a euphemism for “You are too expensive to keep alive. Please die.” And if I hadn’t had enough money in the bank to deal with it myself, I would not be typing this today.
There’s your death panel, you ignorant shill. They exist. Private insurance companies have had them for years. Get sick enough, and if you’re unlucky, you might just hear from one. It isn’t fun. Oh, and you want to know what’s really funny? If I hadn’t been able to afford care by bleeding away my life savings, my other alternative would have been to move to Japan—where they have universal, government-supplied health care."
— A commentator who goes by the username “Marc” in response to “Mark Halperin tells conservative host that death panels are ‘built in’ to Obamacare" | The Raw Story (via rabbleprochoice)