No, this is not about my impending eligibility for a COVID booster – but you best believe I’m getting that sucker as soon as I am able!
This prick is a person. Not a bad person, I’m sure.
Just a guy doing his job.
And since it involves a badge of sorts, well, let’s just say that Americans no longer need power to be absolute for it to be too great a temptation for them to abuse.
This one was an airport cop. Not even TSA or the Port Police, either. He was a contract employee – is…I didn’t have him fired – working traffic detail in the Arrivals pick up area at PDX.
A little context, PDX has a two tiered front. The upper deck is the Departure level, where you walk in to the ticketing counters. The lower level is Arrivals, where you exit from baggage claim.
Outside of either, you have “islands”. The inner island, closest to the doors is for private vehicles to pick up or drop off. The outer island – called…get this, Island 2 – is for commercial vehicles, which is where I spend most of my airport time these days.
I’d say about 40% of the time when I have a ride to drop someone off at the airport, I’ll get paired with a ride back automatically. If I don’t, I just leave. It’s not worthwhile to chill in the holding area and wait, because usually there’s 20-60 other drivers in there.
And even smaller portion of those return rides I get paired with occur on my approach to the airport versus as pull away from the Departures drop off.
Why does it matter, all of this esoteric knowledge about airport ops at PDX?
You see, the round trip to get from the Departures level to the Arrivals level is about 4 miles and takes about six minute. Passing through and back into three different speed zones, no less:
Ironically, the route is rather parabolic in shape, so there’s a strangely soothing rhythm to the round trip.
Still, it’s wasteful. Plus, it throws unnecessary pollution into the air.
Sooooo…when I get that very rare return ride on my approach to the airport and happen to have that even rarer passenger that travels light – like, backpack light – I’ll ask if they mind me just dropping them on the Arrivals level. I mean, if they can work the Lyft app, I feel fairly certain they possess the competencies required to navigate an escalator.
I had one of these unicorn situations the other day. Since the passenger was also a Portland native, they easily agreed to my request tp drop them off downstairs. Hell, being a Portland native, they’d have fallen all over themselves to leave an arm behind if I’d asked.
We’re nice folks.
Passive-aggressive like there’s no tomorrow, but nice. We’re like the British of the US.
Anyway, I ask if she’d mind the whole “Departures drop off on the Arrivals level” and she’s game.
I pull up to the first of two crosswalks (from the parking garage to the terminal) and she hops out. As I’m waiting for pedestrian traffic to clear, this Officious Prick person walks over, points at my dashboard Lyft lamp and says, “You know Departures are upstairs, right?”
I tell him “Yes, but I had a pick up, so…”
“Well, next time you need to do it right!” Like there’s a wrong way to drop someone off at the airport that doesn’t involve the words “Tuck and roll!”
“I see”, I reply. “The environment doesn’t thank you”, I tell him pointedly. What a bunch of nonsense. Please, this is my job – as it were – trust me to apply some critical thinking to the situation, appropriately.
Of course, as I’m thinking this, he replies, “I work for PDX, not the environment.”
Yeah…I’m not sure why I thought critical thinking would enter any equation involving Stupid Americans, but here I am.
Fuck the planet.
Quick! Someone kill Greta Thunberg so she can roll over in her grave!