Sorry this is long. It is about only 50 minutes of my day the other day (I’m posting it late because I didn’t have internet access before). If anyone knows how to cut part of this off of the front page, please tell me.
This morning, I had a flight out of town at 715 am. Last night, I checked to make sure that the T did, in fact open at 530 am. It did. It was 220 am – I had just turned in a paper by email. I set an alarm for 5:10. I am not sure how I thought that would get me to the T by 530, but I had slept only 4-6 hours per night for the past three nights and I don’t think I was thinking clearly. From my house, it takes about 15 minutes to walk to the T, and from there 40-60 minutes to get to the airport. Oh, and I hadn’t packed yet. I planned to do that in the morning (okay, maybe technically it already was morning, but you know what I mean).
Next thing I know, I roll over and it seems lighter than it should be outside. I check the clock on my phone and it’s 626. SHIT. I jump out of bed. I can’t decide whether I need to be calling my airline to reschedule or giving this a shot. I think about the fact that I am taking a connecting flight that connects to a different airline – and that I bought the two tickets separately. It was much cheaper that way, but it was going to be hard to convince both airlines to change me for free, and even harder to be sure that the times they moved me to still allowed for my connection. SHIT. I knew I had to at least try to make a run for it.
If I was going to make it, I couldn’t take the T. Even if I were ALREADY AT the T stop, I couldn’t have made my flight. I thought about whether to try to catch a cab on the street or to call, and realized that since I still needed to pack, I should call a cab, so that I could pack while it was coming. I called an independent cab company that is basically just this dude who drives a minivan around and has his cell phone number listed as the cab company number. But I didn’t know that at the time, it was just the first cab company whose number I came across. I asked if it would take long for a cab to come – he told me he could leave right away. I didn’t know exactly how long that meant, but I was desperate and he sounded confident. He seemed eager for my business and responded well to my request and was on his way. (white privilege, class privilege because of my neighborhood). In the meantime, I packed my bags and freaked out because I hadn’t taken money out in a week because I had just been writing papers non-stop. Was I going to have to ask the cab to stop at an ATM? But then I might have to pay a fee, and what if the cab wouldn’t take me if I had no cash? And that stopping time might be the difference between making and missing my flight.
Then, I remembered that in my sock drawer, I had a recently received engagement card from my grandmother that had just enough cash in it (class privilege, heterosexual privilege). I ran and got it, and went outside to the main street where I waited for the cab. I got in at 740, and we headed for the airport.
I have no idea how we made it to the airport but we somehow made it there at 705. after paying for the cab (class privilege), I went into the terminal. I swiped my card to pick up my boarding pass from one of those machines (class privilege, American citizenship privilege, matching legal name/gender on all my legal stuff privilege). It said it required my confirmation code. This sucked because I didn’t know that information or have it with me. I signaled for help from the two people behind the desk. I told them I didn’t know my confirmation number. They laughed and said it was okay, and that I must have had a bad morning. They didn’t assume that I was lying, committing fraud, or stupid (race privilege).
At first they couldn’t check me in. one of the two of them was clearly a trainee and the other was watching her work. “The flight is closed,” she said. “Then open it, he said.” “But it takes off in ten minutes.” “She looks like she can make it. We’ll just tell her to run.” (privilege of not having a visible disability, appearing young). He taught her how to open the flight back up just for me and they politely thanked me, told me to have a great day and thanked me for choosing their airline. They said they hoped I chose their airline again and remained a valued customer. (race, class privilege). I ran to security. There was no line, and there were two people working. The reason that there was no line is that the only flight going out of the terminal that early in the morning was taking of at 7:15 am and it was already 7:07. I handed my ID over to the person who checks ID and went to the conveyor belt. As I took my laptop out of my bag, I could hear the two people at security arguing about who would have to pat me down if I set off the detector – the male one or the female one? I took off my belt and shoes and even removed all of the change from my pockets, hoping that I didn’t forget something and set off the metal detector. I didn’t want them to actually have to decide. “it’s a man.” “no, it’s a woman.” “no, it’s a boy.” “I wonder how old it is.” I was careful not to make eye contact or speak – that would have given them more things to clock me with. I let them argue, felt great relief when the metal detector remained silent, and then walked away as quickly as possible. I felt a little bad for causing them to begin their day with a fight.
When I got to the gate, a flight attendant was waiting for me – she said she was amazed how late they had let me through, and how quickly I had arrived. She asked me if I had a bad morning and I told her that I had had a horrible week finishing up my school work. She did not assume I was late or irresponsible because of my race or upbringing – she assumed this was a one-time thing related to some sort of a bad day.
Nearly everyone who helped me make this particular day work out appeared to be from a racial or ethnic group that is oppressed in the
How have you experienced privilege of some kind today? I think it would be great if people started posting and commenting more about privilege. We post a lot about awkward things or about the way that oppression affects our lives. Let’s write about privilege, too.