Monday, April 16, 2012

Up In The Air

I am typing these words into an iPad while flying over America's heartland, en route from my home in Illinois to Oklahoma City where I will spend the next several days at the National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) and the concurrent meeting of the Lutheran Ecumenical and inter-religious Representatives Network. (LERN) I am finally beginning to look forward to the event. Up to this point I have mostly just been dreading the travel. You see, I haven't been on an airplane in more than 20 years and I really didn't enjoy it much then.

Airplanes might be a comfortable form of transportation for people less than 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. I'm a little larger than that in every dimension. Beside that my sitbones are beginning to ache. I hope not to find out, but I suspect that this seat cushion works better as an emergency flotation device.

I was up this morning at 4:00 to drive 50 miles to catch a bus that took me to the airport by 7:45 to catch my flight by 9:10. The flight, naturally enough, was delayed. A late arrival and mechanical issues conspired to delay take-off. Headwinds are further slowing things down. It looks as if I'll be late for lunch.

Passing through the TSA checkpoint at O'Hare Airport was not as unpleasant as I anticipated. I had to empty my pockets, take electronics out of my bags, remove my shoes and belt, and submit to a body scan. The TSA personnel were professional and courteous, though more efficient than friendly. That, come to think of it, is probably for the best.

Waiting at the gate, I pondered the compromise between liberty and security that post 9/11 America has made. From the moment I was passed through the TSA checkpoint, I have existed in a hermetically "secure" environment. I couldn't carry more than 3 ounces of liquid through security but bought a 25 ounce bottle of water on the other side.

I paid $25.00 to check a bag that I could have carried on, just so I could have a pair of scissors and a bottle of hair conditioner when I reach Oklahoma City. I may ditch these things before my return flight.

The captain just announced that we will be beginning descent and 25 ounces of water have left me feeling saturated, so I'd best make my way to the rear of the plane before the seat belt light comes on.

Blessings from 20,000 feet.

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