I flew home from Seattle, Washington last night.
Luckily, I was able to catch an earlier flight standby, or else I wouldn't have been home until midnight. But because I was flying standby, I was the last to board. And because I brought my suitcase on to the flight, I soon discovered that there was no overhead space for my luggage. Awkwardly, I walked up and down the aisle on a full plane, doing my best to keep my suitcase and briefcase from ricocheting off the passenger's heads and knees which bobbed in to the 20-inch center aisle.
There was very little airflow in the plane as I opened each and every compartment and scrutinized whether or not there was space for my small suitcase. As I walked from the back of the plane to the front, desperately hoping that my deodorant was working and that I didn't smell as sweaty as I felt, I discovered that two rows behind my seat, if I rearranged a few bags, I could squeeze in my small black Samsonite. Once my luggage was securely placed and I easily closed the compartment door, I unsuccessfully tried to suppress my pride as I said aloud, "It fits like a glove!" and then shot my fellow passengers a victorious grin.
Especially the two men who I had seen shaking their heads and mumbling, "Good luck, honey. You'll never find space for that bag."
I took my middle seat, towards the front of the plane, between a woman who slept for the three hour flight, and a man who shared with me the story of his life and family.
It was a very nice trip.
Until we landed.
And everyone started to deplane. And I knew that I'd have to wait to go back the rows to get my suitcase. So during a break in the traffic, I bade farewell to the man that had been sitting next to me on the aisle, and then I stepped out in the aisle to let the woman who had been sitting next to me at the window, exit. And then I stepped back in to my row while passengers filed past. During another break in traffic, while an elderly woman was trying to get out of her seat and was blocking the aisle, I asked if the men who were standing directly below the luggage compartment that housed my Samsonite, could hand me my suitcase.
"Sure!" they said, "No problem, Ma'm!"
The men quickly passed my small suitcase to me while I smiled and offered them my sincere thanks. And right about then, as the elderly woman was trying to get steady on her feet as she stood in the aisle, and reach for her cane, a young man standing three people behind her in the aisle started to loudly yell, "COME ON!! ANY DAY NOW! JESUS, ARE WE ON THE GROUND OR WHAT?!"
Then he grabbed his head in his hands and started to pull at his hair. "FOR GODSAKE! WHAT'S TAKING SO LONG?!" He tried to push his way around the people that were standing in front of him. He actually tried to squeeze his body, and his backpack, around the people that were standing in the 20-inch aisle in front of him.
The people who were standing around this man didn't let him pass.
But they didn't say anything to him, either.
Meanwhile, the elderly woman was being rocked by the ruckus that was happening behind her.
I could tell she felt badly that she was holding up the exit, so she tried to move faster and stumbled. I gently put my hand on her arm and said, "It's OK. Take your time." Then I turned to the obnoxious ass a few rows back and said, "Hey buddy. Grab one of those oxygen masks and take a breath. Everyone is getting off the plane. RELAX."
Several people smiled and I heard one man whisper, "Hear, Hear."
As I was walking out of the plane to catch my shuttle to the parking lot, I was furious. What the heck is wrong with people? What has happened to common decency and why is it that more people don't speak up?
How is is that people who allow their pit bulls to run around off leash and jump on small children - and then scream vulgarity at the defensive mother - aren't locked up in jail?
How is that men who swat at young children - and then challenge the defensive mother to a fight - aren't put in a bag with rocks and thrown to the bottom of the ocean?
How is it that teenage girls on a roller coaster ride with small children at a local park - think it's acceptable to scream out that they have to go pee and sh*t - while there is a delay in getting off the ride?
How is it that a man on a plane - isn't pummeled on the spot by his fellow passengers - when he starts yelling at an elderly woman with a cane?
I think that a civil society depends, in large part, upon people NOT turning the other cheek, but instead, speaking up when they see bad behavior. Yet very rarely do I see people say anything. And I believe it is for that very reason, more and more, the general population is horrifying to me. Or maybe it's just the people in Southern California.
They act as though they have a sense of entitlement.
They can do whatever they want.
Whenever they want.
However they want.
And there's an excellent chance they'll get away with it.
Which perpetuates more bad behavior.
Although my mother tells me that sometimes it's best to hold your tongue, I have numerous memories of mom speaking up about various wrongdoings when I was a child. Her willingness to get involved, always made me proud. Once I got over the embarrassment.
Recently, I heard that several young adults invaded my mother's community swimming pool and were drinking beer out of bottles when my mother happened upon them. Although all the other residents were looking the other way and minding their own business, my mother spoke up.
"What are you doing with glass in our pool?" she asked. They acknowledged her and they said that they'd get out, but they didn't. After waiting a few minutes, my mother bellowed at them, "GET OUT OF THIS POOL, IMMEDIATELY!"
And then I'm fairly certain she said, "Don't think for a minute I won't kick your punk ass to Kingdom Come with my new knee!"
They scrambled out as fast as they could, apologizing profusely in the process.
I adore my mother.
She is my hero.
I want to be just like her. Moreover, I want to be the kind of example to my children, that my mother has been - and continues to be - for me.
She is a gentle, loving soul who truly makes the world a better place.
But don't cross her.
Don't ever cross her.