First I'd like to add a disclaimer about the potential insensitivity of this post.
While at the airport this past weekend, I waited to board the plane. Group 4 listed on my ticket.
Group 4 of a total of four groups.
After I hear the announcement that the plane will begin boarding soon....
I get shifty. I get antsy. I stand up. I stand up too soon. I consider sitting back down but my seat has since been taken.
5 minutes passes and she announces for any pre-board, elderly or children to begin boarding.
I think I have to pee. I consider holding it. I suck my belly in and confirm...Yes, yes that is definitely a pee-worthy bladder I have.
She announces that the Premier Access or Rewards members may enter.
I roll my eyes. I debate how much time I have to pee. I consider dumping out my water so I don't drink it and don't have to use the closet bathroom in the plane. I decide and hastily head to the bathroom, heart beating faster than normal. Fear of missing my (last) group number and realizing my bags are entirely too heavy.
I return in a panic.
She's announces Group 2.
Well. I could have washed my hands longer. Now I know the time it takes me to pee is the same amount of time it take Group 1 to board.
I see a Premier Access member cut the line and a Group 2 member, a chubby man with a Santa beard, looks down, defeated. He should have worn the suit.
I feel annoyed. I get anxious about the size of my bag. Will they test it in the bag sizing frame? Will they attempt to stuff it in? It won't fit unless they stuff it.
She calls for Group 3.
I get nervous about having to shuffle down the aisle and potentially being unable to lift my overstuffed carry-on item to the overhead stowing area.
A rush of people stand to get in line. I slowly look around. There are few of us left. We stand in solitude. We stand ashamed. Why am I Group 4? Why do these people get to go first? What did I do to be put into Group 4. Others are staring. I look at my feet, embarrassed to be a part of my Group.
She calls for Group 4 with finality in her voice. My subconscious hears: Get your ass on the plane, Group 4. Have fun walking to the back of the plane while the other groups watch. You all are disgusting. You will be last at everything, including your exit of the plane upon your final destination.
I try to wait patiently and mask my face with forced...group pride. I am comfortable being last, because I am comfortable with myself...I wish I would have brought candy with me... I hope they offer free snacks. I want to watch everyone on the plane eat Fruit by the Foot. No peanut-allergy and a useful treat! A chewy candy in the form of a ruler. I shake my thought. Who am I kidding? By the time they get to my group, the only candy that will be left is those chalk-like heart-shaped Valentine's candy leftover from 2009.
I stumble on to the plane. I watch all the other groups sit comfortably in their seats. I look frantically for an open space for my jumbo bag. They are all taken. There is no room for my bag. There is no room for me.
I step over people as I settle into my Group 4 seat...
Maybe someday I can be in a better Group. Or maybe they'll just accept everyone as the same Group. Equals. Maybe someday they'll offer us all Fruit by the Foot and we'll eat and measure...and eat...together in equality.