Red Shirt Diaries #5

You know me:  always looking for new and unlikely circumstances where I might punch the final clock.  And after the week we’ve had – George Michael, Carrie Fisher and then her mother Debbie Reynolds the next day – I’m even slightly more attenuated to the fragility of life than normal.

Oh, and I’m well aware that there’s 36 hours left in the week and year, so watch out Cher, Liza, Barbra, Takei and Shatner!

Working at PDX has also put untimely and unnatural death toward the front of my mind.  I admit to being a little too aware of things unattended during my travels around the airport.  You’ll be glad to know that I wait two minutes before calling in abandoned baggage and have only had one instance where someone didn’t ultimately come along.  They earned an unnoticed glare and shake of my head.  On the more “that could only happen to old Xtopher” scale, I did have a rather uncomfortable morning last month when I found myself passing by an unattended vacuum three times in two hours.  It was left by its lonesome adjacent to the elevator I use.  By the third pass I was easily imagining the damned thing detonating as I stood waiting for my elevator to arrive, blowing me to smithereens; so I was relieved when I went for my fourth ride and it was gone.


So I’m trying to acknowledge the difference between being hyper-aware versus hyper-vigilant in my daily life as a means to keeping my neurotic terror level closer to the mild discomfort of – say – tangerine orange than the all out panic of a marinara red.  Me being me, I’m also trying to find the humor in these moments where my more neurotic self would want to report a suspicious vacuum cleaner to Airport Security.

I think I’m doing ok.

Me still being me, I have managed to make myself the butt of a few fun anecdotes about remaining aware in the process.  Like the time I suggested to one of my team members that we up our dusting game.  She returned a challenge of “Why?” and instead of saying “Because I said!” instead leaned over and picked up a rather large dust bunny and made light of the situation by saying, “Because I almost asked this for a boarding pass a few minutes ago!”

There’s the flip side of this awareness, too.  One slightly more beneficial to my fellow human.  On another occasion, I was walking a new hire through the airport to show her each of the stores we run and an older woman tripped and fell. She had been pushing a cart and didn’t see a transition plate in the concourse.  It snagged the real wheels and then shot ahead of her once they cleared.  As near as I can tell, she never adjusted her body weight, nor did she let go of the handle, so the cart pulled her off her feet and she went right down on her face…just like me water skiing.

Of course, I was horrified at the slow motion sight and unnatural clarity of the sound of her impact, but I managed to get the Comm Center on my phone and get her some medical attention, all the while pushing the thought, “That could have been me” out of my mind.

You want to take a minute and think about me being towed behind a motor boat because I forgot to release the tow line while water skiing?

Go ahead.

The visual pattern that water creates as it’s channeled over your nostrils, folding back your eyelids is quite indescribable.

While an amusing anecdote, I’m sure that explains why I am not the most enthusiastic athlete.  It’s just not my gift.  It’s also reason #1 that no one that knows me should be surprised that this hyper-awareness when it comes to danger is really just my attempt at ensuring my death certificate doesn’t read “Death By Misadventure”!

Red Shirt Diaries #5

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