[There is no picture because they won’t let me add a picture — bastard people.]
On this great Sunday afternoon, Freckles and I went for a long drive in sweet Bessie. The top was down, the tunes were up, and here comes John Mellencamp singing “You Got To Stand For Somethin‘.” This was part of his Scarecrow album which I played over and over and over again while I was in college. And I say album and mean album. I have also bought it as a cassette and a CD. I saw he’s going to be in Minneapolis and I sure would like to see him, especially at the Orpheum instead of a big stadium like Xcel, but the do-re-mi is not here right now so maybe next time. But I digress.
I’m listening to “You Got To Stand For Somethin‘” and I thought to myself, when was the last time I really stood for something. I’m not talking about big things like civil rights, equality for women, gun control, or getting Betty White to host SNL — I’m talking about every day chances that come my way when I should stand up for someone or something but I just stay quiet because I don’t want to make waves (and believe me I actually enjoy making waves), especially in the workplace. I honestly wonder how far we can let ourselves, and others, be pushed and bullied before we say anything because we are afraid of losing our job. I think the flight attendant who, yes, everyone including me, is getting tired of, risked his job to stand up for himself and in many ways for other attendants to say “how much do we have to take.” When I was on the flight from Minneapolis to Denver (then to California) right before we were going to take off this man started to make a fuss. Of course, I was thinking, like I have a feeling most people were “Please just sit down so we can get going.” Well the man was arguing with the attendant and with the boarding gate person.
As I understood it he had bought two tickets on the flight for himself and his mother. His mother had a heart attack a couple of weeks prior to the flight and had surgery and was, of course, unable to travel. He called the airline (Frontier) to get a refund and was told he would be charged a penalty. Let’s be real — if he can prove that his mother was actually medically unable to fly the airline should be a refund. Well since the penalty was high and he was pissed he said, never mind I’ll take the two seats. Think about it, all that extra space on a plane ride, sounds pretty tempting.
In the meantime since his mother, who was the person the seat was assigned to, never showed up Frontier sold the seat to someone else just like every other airline would have done. That was when he blew up — and rightfully so. He paid for the seat and if he wants to leave it empty or put a troll doll on the seat isn’t that his prerogative? And if the airline sold the seat then they should give him a full refund no questions asked. [Also what is rogative I mean you have pre-, de-, and even inter- but no rogative — that’s stupid!]
So I watched his unfolding and I knew he was right, I think we all did, but no one jumped to his defense. No one said — right on brother. We just sat there and wished he would sit down so we could take off. The man eventually got off the plane. And I didn’t stand for him, when I should have. I can write to the airline supporting him. I can write to my senators to pass a law that all airlines (and Ticketmaster) etc. should have to return funds to anyone who has a legitimate medical reason to have to cancel their plans. But, that Thursday, when one person was raging against the machine, none of us even had the balls to say — “You’re right. Go get ’em.”
I wonder what my day would be like if I wasn’t afraid to lose my job, to lose my seat on a plane, to lose my so-called-dignity. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about on this Sunday afternoon.