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Airport Security Restored

June 11th, 2007 by dk

My friend Dan is an engineer. He solves problems before most of the rest of us recognize there’s a problem to be fixed. Planned obsolescence would never have worked to propel capitalism if the world had more Dans. I once watched him level a house using a garden hose. Dan’s genius doesn’t limit itself to mechanical things. He fixes things that are broken. It’s just what he does.

Yesterday his wife left on a flight to Florida. He hates being home alone, so he made arrangements to visit his brother in Oklahoma. They left from the same airport. Their departures were less than an hour apart. The casual observer would credit Dan for consolidating trips to the airport. But what he did was much smarter than that.

Because he was flying and she was flying, they both had boarding passes. They took off their shoes together, passed through code-orange security together, wandered to Jeanne’s gate together. When Jeanne’s flight began to board, Dan had reclaimed his God-given right/rite to hug his wife as she prepared to enter the craft that would take her apart from him. Add a little steam, a whistle and a distant “All aboard!” and Dan’s world was back where it belongs.

Most of us now accept that we must part several steps earlier in the process, handing our honeys off to the TSA personnel, who then leave them to pace the newly secured bowels of the airport layout. It’s not right and we know it, but who besides Dan can correct it even once?

Eventually somebody will launch an airline that may never leave the ground. Customers will buy tickets for the sole purpose of being a ticket-holder, allowing them to part with their loved ones at the last possible minute and wave at the plane as it taxies from the terminal. Their $30 ticket to fly, scheduled for the nearest airport and back every hour and ridiculously overbooked, can then be disposed of. The world will be right again.

When Jeanne returns, Dan will be waiting when she steps off the plane. His flight arrives two hours earlier, but he won’t leave the holy of holies terminal area, because once he leaves he can’t return. Nobody will make him leave. He’ll let his baggage spin on the carousel for those two hours, while he waits to greet his wife the moment she reaches terra firma. That’s love.

Love is sometimes — maybe all the time — the ultimate problem-solver.

{184 – 42 = 142}

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 benproctor13 Jun 12, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    oh, that’s my dad…love that’s clear as a bell, and sound as an old engineer.

  • 2 billthepoet Jun 15, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    dk has the ability to slice and dice his way through an amazing number of topics, but I don’t recall the last time I was so awed by his topic.

    I dunno who — it was probably and if not will soon be George Bernard Shaw — said that we should strive to live the first paragraph of our desired obit every day. Sounds like Dan and Jeanne do that.

    Another “engineer’s engineer” named David Beverly was murdered on the job at the NASA Johnson Space Center a few months ago. Here is what Administrator Mike Griffin said about his death:

    “No more than any of you do I know what to make of, or to take from, this awful thing, other than to realize, once again, that none of us knows the day or hour of our passing, and that the “now” is precious. David and Linda did not know when they said goodbye that morning that it would be for the last time. She told me that they almost never quarreled, and that their last words were of love and caring. She will have that as her final memory of her soulmate.

    Let us all go forward with the goal of leaving behind just such memories for our family, friends, and co-workers to have when our last day arrives, as it must.”

    Engineering flight itineraries seems like a chore, a problem. But if engineering is what Dan does best, it’s as natural as breathing. The effort is small to an engineer. The clarity of purpose is anything but.

  • 3 Julia Sipitydodah Jul 21, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Hey Don, tried to track you down, send an email regarding the 07 Kinetic Challenge. This is the best I could do in the middle of the night. So coquettish, so pixotic of you. Drop me a line so I can email an URGENT note to you from my teddy bear Jefferson.