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.
How the Logic of "Friendzoning" Would Work If Applied in Other Instances:
*Man walks into a store and finds employee*
Man:Alright, I've had enough. Why haven't you guys hired me?!
Employee:Uh...well sir, when did you put in your application?
Man:I never filled out an application.
Employee:Well sir, we can't consider you for employment if you've never filled out an application.
Man:No, that's bullshit, because I've been coming here for years now, and every single time I tell you all how much I love this store and how much I appreciate your customer service, unlike some of your other customers might I add!
Employee:Well, but that doesn't-
Man:AND I even told you that I didn't have a job!
Employee:But sir, that doesn't indicate to us that you would like a job at our store. And again, if you've never filled out an application, we can't consider you. Besides, we're not hiring.
Man:OH! Not hiring, HA! What a laugh. I see your store go through seasonal workers all the time. They come and go like nothing, but you won't consider me as a part-time employee even though I KNOW you've been looking for workers to fill positions? That's insane!
Employee:Sir, we've been looking to hire a few people for management positions. Do you have any management experience?
Man:Well no, but what does that matter?
Employee:...Well sir, that's what we're looking for. You won't be suitable for the position without management experience.
Man:Oh that's such a load of crap. You know, you'll be waiting around a long time for a manager if you don't lower your standards a little. Who cares if someone knows how to manage a store? I LOVE this store and I'm willing to work here, that's all that should matter to you.
Employee:That...doesn't make any sense.
Man:NO! I'm done. This is over. From now on, no more Mr. Nice Guy.