Yesterday, on my flight from Seattle to Dallas, I had the most passive-aggressive pillow fight ever with the woman seated in front of me. She wasn’t using her neck pillow and she kept pushing it into my lap. Grrrrr!!! A big believer in living within the space designated for you while flying, and admittedly a little cranky from being on the road for 3 weeks, I kept pushing it back onto her side. She could have easily just put it away, but she didn’t. She kept stuffing it back in the window and nudging it back with her elbow. So it was “on.” No words were ever spoken, but it went on for nearly 10 minutes. I was flying US Airways, so there was no video screen in her headrest; I had to amuse myself somehow. Every time I pushed it back in her window, I would see her huff and puff and almost turn around, but she never did. I guess we were both being petty, but stop encroaching on my personal space, lady! I wish I’d videotaped it. It was hilarious.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, I won.
Maybe this makes me a bad person. But I needed it.
So I’m in Detroit Metro Airport standing next to this sign in the US Airways Preferred Access ticketing line, when a not-black woman who was also checking in walks up behind me and taps me on my shoulder. “Your line is over there ma’am. This one is for elite.”
What in the ENTIRE hell?
In the dream sequence that played in my head, I bitch-slapped that lady and then stood over her like I was Ali and she was Sonny Liston. In real life, I gave her the big eyes/forehead crinkle combo and said, “I am flying first-class, thank you,” and then gave her my back. But what I what I was feeling, what I would have said if I’d had half a second longer to think about it is, “How f—ing dare you!”
How dare you look at me and just assume I’m not entitled to be exactly where I am! How dare you not even consider the possibility that in this scenario we could be equals?
I’ve been called “nigger.” And “nigger bitch.” I’ve been told by a friend that I was not welcome in her parents’ home. I’ve experienced in-your-face racism. But what happened to me today is no less racist. The immediate assumption that I didn’t belong — it’s the same kind of ugly.
When I got to the counter the agent thanked me (loud enough for her to hear) for my loyalty. I glanced over my shoulder at her and threw all the shade I could muster.
She couldn’t have cared less.
And I guess that’s all there is to say.