Do you guys think I’m stupid? When I have problems with a company that has me at its mercy, in which I trust my life, do you suppose I don’t know who is really responsible? Like, if I walk the streets of a city and find them covered with garbage, do you think I blame the men whose responsibility it is to clean as hard as they can from day to night? Don’t you think I know there are too few of them to get the job done?
And if I fly an airplane that has been worked like an old donkey for the past 10 years, do you think I blame the pilots and mechanics for the fact that it throws a warning light every time it lands? What do you take me for? Seriously.
There were two kinds of comments to yesterday’s post that really set me off. The first came from the geniuses who told me I should walk from New York to California. I’m a cordial guy, so I’ll just say that I find those comments to be… what… insincere? I know what you’re saying. You’re telling me to, you know, have extremely personal relations with myself. Believe me, when I’m sitting on the floor of the airport sucking carpet waiting for the next time some guy thanks me for my patience, I wish I could. Because I can’t? I’ll just say… back atcha.
The second are those who think I’m blaming flight attendants, cleaning crews, pilots, gate agents, for the pain that the airlines inflict on we, the prisoners of Zenda. Believe me, I don’t. I know who is to blame. It starts with Ronald Reagan and we can go on from there. But no, I don’t think the working crew is responsible for anything except, at times, a really nasty attitude that you also see in my comments.
If I had to deal with the wretched refuse of our teeming shores every day, I’m not sure I would be any sunnier. I don’t know, however, that I would sport a pin that said “I don’t care what your name is either.” I’m sure the flight attendant had a good reason to wear it. But still.
A particularly hurtful but truthful comment came from Glenn in San Francisco. Here it is. I don’t want anybody to lose it in the shuffle, like a piece of luggage headed for Barbados that was intended for Peru.
I do, I hope. Anyhow, Glenn is pretty eloquent if I do not.
Here’s what I think: we all work for organizations. Our organizations work within a system. The system is bigger than we are, but it doesn’t absolve us from personal responsibility. That’s why I love people like Bobbi in Dallas, who made American Airlines (AMR) look so good in spite of all the indignities to which she may have been subjected by her situation, whatever that might be.
And that’s why I don’t like the gate agent in San Francisco, the guy who didn’t allow the pregnant woman, toting a stroller and a tiny baby in a Snuggly, to pre-board one night last spring. Sure, he had his reasons. We each have our reasons. We all live within the belly of our own particular beast. How human we are within that confine is up to each of us.
And, of course, how much any of us might want to do, or is willing to do, to change the system. I’m open to any suggestion. As long as I don’t have to walk.