Long Days and Short Years

just trying to pay attention so I don't miss my life


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Questions from the Air

On Monday I was annoyed, but on Saturday; heartbroken.

On Monday, our flight from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh was delayed, canceled, and rescheduled for the next morning. The airline cited ‘weather’ as the reason, but frustrated passengers muttered ‘sequester’ and ‘furloughed air traffic controllers’ as we found places to stay for an extra night.  My husband and I crashed on our (angelic) friends’ air mattress and returned the next day.

All last week travelers endured similar delays.  Why?  When my daughter asked me why we had returned a day late, I explained, “There just weren’t enough people working who could watch our plane in the sky.”  “Why, mama?”  “There isn’t the money to pay them honey.”  “Why, mama?”  “Uh… umm… the grown-ups are still trying to figure that out.”

By Friday, the grown-ups figured it out.  Our collective airport frustrations reached the ears of legislators who, through an almost unimaginable act of bipartisanship, fixed the problem swiftly.

Now you ask, why is that heartbreaking?

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I first heard the news over the radio.  Saturday morning, coffee in hand.  No more excessive airport delays.  Great.  I won’t be flying anytime soon, but I do not wish extra annoyance on business travelers, parents traveling with small children, or anyone else.

However.

As a part of the report, a question came over the airwaves, right to me and my coffee cup.  But what about the cuts to programs like Headstart and Meals on Wheels?  Why has the loudest cry come from the airport lounges?  

Now, before I continue, I would like to say that, yes I know that airline delays have financial consequences.  Yes, I know that ‘entitlement programs’ carry more baggage than you could check under a plane.  Yes I know, it’s all very complicated.

Here’s something else I know:  I cared much more about my delayed flight than I do about cuts to Meals on Wheels.

It is difficult to care passionately about things that don’t affect me personally.

And given the legislative events of the past week, I don’t think that I’m the only one.