Thursday, 3 October 2013
Snakes on a Plane
What if you were a traveller standing impatiently in an airport security line-up with hundreds of other restless and weary souls? What if, as you snaked your way slowly toward the end, an individual directly behind you in the line, who you believed was crowding you with his presence, picked up his cell phone and started talking? What if, when you could feel his breath on your neck for the 10th time, in your irritation, you glanced halfway behind you and noticed a man, business attire and case, very tall, shifting from foot to foot? What if that man started talking very loudly, noting he was in a public place but he worked for a very large drug store chain and how they were planning a major media campaign to fight some regulatory change that would ultimately mean less money for their burgeoning profits and he was sure they could round up some patients to prove their point? What if that same man started name-dropping almost every person you had ever worked with at the most senior levels of the health ministry and government in this province - and how they might prepare a draft press release to show the officials just how hard the ball was that they were preparing to throw in their direction - but was a little reluctant to put it in writing? What if he also loudly stated he had been at a reception with the leader of the province in Toronto the night before and had had an audience with one of her officials? And what if the woman standing in front of him, who was not in business attire and therefore of no importance to him...absorbed every word and every name that rolled off his tongue? And what if that same woman, who he had so summarily dismissed as unimportant and incapable of grasping what he was saying, tapped him on the shoulder as his call ended and she was about to step through the machine and said she thought he should know she worked in health communications for many years and she heard every word? And what if the look on his face defied description and he scrambled to think of something to say? And what if the woman spent the next five hours on the same flight as him - watching episodes of House of Cards...and being reminded of the fight over "Obamacare" in the US, the horrible tentacles and power of the drug companies and others in that country who opposed health insurance for all, and the danger of dismissing some innocuous lady in a line-up...who will bite you back? What if all that really happened? That would be funny.