Wistfully wishing for goodbyes gone by
Flying isn’t what it used to be.
It has nothing to do with the federal screeners from the Transportation Security Administration now in place. Though in having just flown from Reno to Phoenix and back I must agree with many in the industry that TSA is really an acronym for Thousands Standing Around.
They did there job just fine. It’s just that there were just so many of them milling about. In fact it was probably the two best experiences with security that I have had since Sept. 11. No one patted me down, took a wand to me, opened my carry-on or asked me to take off my shoes — as has happened in the recent past.
What really got me was when I was in Phoenix waiting for my friend to taxi up to the gate. Well, he wasn’t actually doing the taxiing because first officers (aka the co-pilots) for Southwest cannot taxi. You see, 737s only have that gear on the captain’s side. And Southwest only has a fleet of 737s.
Any way, this was obviously a rare opportunity to meet a friend at the gate. It made me long for the days of old when family and friends could greet each other at the gate and say their goodbyes some place more intimate than a curb.
The last time someone hugged me before I walked down the ramp was a month before the terrorist attacks. My parents stayed with me until I flew out of Oakland to Phoenix to begin the first leg of my five-month expedition last year.
In fact when I was just unpacking I found the pictures from that day. It does not look like there will be another picture taken of anyone setting off on a journey via plane.
A whole generation will miss out on the romance of greeting a lover when he steps off the plane. They will not know the thrill of running into their arms as they set foot into the terminal. There will be no long, drawn out goodbyes where you think the couple should probably have stayed home to stay goodbye.
There are no grandparents at the gate to great their new kin. There are no friends beginning their reunion from the first second the out-of-towners arrive.
Perhaps I am just too much of a romantic because I believe that these departures and meetings at the gate are significant. But I truly miss them, and didn’t realize how much until Thursday night in Phoenix.
It seems like if the security gurus can say we are safe enough to be permitted up in the air, then they can say it is safe enough for my family and friends to sit at the gate with me or waiting for me.
They won’t even have luggage to screen and scan. It’s just them. I really do not understand what the security risk is. Perhaps as time goes by the rule-makers will realize there is little if any benefit in not allowing people to wait at the gate.
Now if only there were Amtrak on the South Shore, then I could be waving like a mad woman either hello or goodbye to loved ones; give one last hug until jumping aboard; have fingertips touching as the train pulls out …
Kathryn Reed is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She may be reached at (530) 541-3880, ext. 251 or via e-mail at email@example.com
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