Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The hooks are high in heaven

Sure nothing happens here. Sure it’s all about corn, pigs and cattle.

But the people are amazing. They’re so friendly it hurts.

It started with the check-in chick at the Marriott in downtown Des Moines.

I’ve received less enthusiastic greetings from my own relatives.

And I’m quite certain that if the high counter wasn’t between us, she would’ve hugged me. Not just the cursory because-I-have-to hug, either. A Great Big Squeeze that lasts longer than it should but is comforting all the same.

It’s what I imagine heaven is like: People who don’t even know you already love you and are happy you’re there.
The hook was up high on the door. I hadn’t seen it that way in forever.

It was in the women’s restroom at Des Moines International airport.

In Chicago and Detroit and San Francisco and Boston and Miami and LA the hooks in stalls are either towards the middle of the door or nonexistent. That’s so nobody can reach over the top to grab your handbag while you’re preoccupied on the pot.

Before they lowered the hooks at O’Hare, there were signs warning folks not to use them and not to even set stuff on the floor. Of course, patrons of that potty also were reminded that the airport was not responsible for lost or stolen items.

The signs might as well have said: “Welcome to Chicago! It’s not even safe to pee here!”

I am happy to report the hooks are still high in Iowa.
I realize that I am dangerously close to sounding like the old person you know who starts every sentence with “I remember when” and proceeds to tell you how much better/nicer/cleaner/safer/hard-working/respectful the world was before things started going to hell in a hand basket.

I don’t think things are any worse than any other time in history. There are more people, so of course there’s more of everything including crime. And because of the media we hear about more of the bad stuff happening everywhere.

But things aren’t worse.

In fact, life is better in a lot of ways. We’re living a lot longer. We’ve never had more conveniences or comforts. Per capita crime rates are actually down from the 70’s. And nobody has to walk uphill both ways through a blizzard to get to school.
That hook thing really bugs me. I didn’t realize it until this trip.

It’s a small reminder that we can’t trust each other, that the world is unsafe. And if there’s one place you wanna feel safe, it’s in an airport bathroom.
What is a hand basket, anyway?
Don’t you think there’s a connection between how safe you feel and how you treat others?

It’s the flip side of the Golden Rule. If the world’s been mean to you and steals your stuff, then it’s more likely you’re gonna treat others accordingly, right?

When you feel safe it’s just easier to love everybody. Maybe that’s why Iowans are so nice.

I know that’s why I’ll go back there someday. For the people, sure.

But especially for the hooks.
I am listening to: Indigo Girls - Galileo
I am reading: The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
And I am: Energetic


the dilf said...

Is anyone sick of Mean people????or Mean Customers???.....What the F is going on with everyone. Who raised these people???...Didn't your parents teach you to be nice, at ALL times???? This was Constantly instilled in my mind by my parents. EVERY DAY! I wish I had the Balls to tell these people to go F themselves!!! But then again, I was not raised to do that and I hope my kids grow up believing that also....But, wouldnt it be nice to just F'ing Bury one of these aholes??? Just think of 1 or 2 people that you absolutely despise and you could have the opportunity to just Crush them!!!....Just maybe, someday!!! I better stop, I'm starting to drool!...Iowa anyone?

Hedy said...

Trust me, when you just can't take it anymore and finallly "F'ing bury one of these aholes" it doesn't work. I was convinced that people are assholes because we non-ahole types never call them on their shitty behavior. But the fact is, assholes continue to be assholes even after you've let them have it. It's healthier in the long run to ignore them and continue being nice. Thanks for the comments, mr. dilf!