Rule Followers with Stupid Names

July 13, 2018

There are people in this world that I like to refer to as Rule Followers.  They are the people who never break the rules.  They are sticklers, tattle tales, narcs who grow up to become compliance officers, auditors, and people who absolutely cannot EVER think outside of the box.  These people don't get invited to my Christmas party because they are the downers of the world.  

Their sole purpose is to make my life on earth a living hell and to remind me why I work in a creative field.  I cannot abide these characters who do not have the ability to look at a particular situation, see the rule that should apply,  and decide for themselves whether or not they should enforce the rule every single time. 

I suffer from travel anxiety- major travel anxiety.  Packing to go on a trip is the most overwhelming thing for me.  Laugh and call me ridiculous, I don't care.  I have an impending fear that I will never get back home.  I have always returned home, always.  I realize that my fear is ridiculous to many, but it is rooted in my truth.  I am terrified of being on a plane used as a weapon.  I have an intense fear of burning to death or drowning and I freak out when I have to fly, which is often.

After looking for one of my best friends for four days after 9/11, I will never view flying the same. Those of you who know how much I love to travel are probably scratching your heads wondering "How is this possible? Her husband travels with his job and they are all over the place."  Better living through chemistry, that is how it is possible-  medication and determination to achieve the final goal and then I get on the dang plane.

I am one of those aggravating people who travels with their dog.  Yes, my shrink certified him as an emotional support animal, and he is truly that.  I cannot imagine getting on a plane without him.  He has been with me when I cried my eyes out when three of my best friends died within one year, he has been with me when I was so angry with my husband that I could've spit nails.  He was with me when my world completely fell apart and I couldn't imagine it ever coming back together.  He has been the best friend I have ever had.  Who would want to fly with anyone else?

The other day, I was at the ticket counter, presenting my "I am crazy enough to fly with an animal letter" which really should have at the top of it- "I have been through shit that you have only seen in Lifetime movies, and some things they haven't dared to show yet because you people can't handle it..."  But, it doesn't.  Instead, it says that I suffer from PTSD and depression, and it has a date on the top.  Apparently, my date was one week expired as of a few days ago.

I was already a little bit confused when I looked at the clerk's nametag.  I thought she must be the second in charge, second shift?  Until she called her Supervisor...saying "Ummm, yeah....this is Seconda in Birmingham and we've got one with an expired letter.  I don't know if it's legit, I mean, she looks okay to me."  

Looks okay?  Did I look okay?  Thank you.  I am so glad that ticket clerks can make medical assessments by looking at travelers and how they are accessorized.  I do accessorize well, but that has nothing to do with a panic attack, mmkay? 

Robin Williams looked okay, Kate Spade looked okay.  Just because someone looks okay, doesn't mean that they aren't chasing rabbits in their head every day just to keep it together and not crack in certain situations.  She had no idea what it took for me just to GET to the ticket counter at the airport without having a melt-down.

Seconda?  What a name.  I kept wondering if she was the second child, second daughter, or if maybe she'd just been in Miss Patton's class and was second in line and Miss Patton said Secondaaaaahhhhh!  She was widely known for adding ahhhhhh!  to any name ending in a consonant.  One of my favorite teachers ever, Miss Patton.

Seconda was too old to have been in Miss Patton's class, so I surmised she was obviously the second girl in the family, the second child, the child born to hillbilly parents who were too lazy to give her a name, so they just named her Secondahhhhh?  I have no idea, but grown people, if you have a name as ridiculous as Seconda and you want people to take you seriously, change your damn name.  

Where was I?  ADD- they don't have those letters on my letter, but should.  Seconda was giving me down the road, telling me that I had to have a new letter from my doctor (which can't be emailed, by the way).  Her counterpart had looked up my frequent flier account and saw that I had flown with my dog within the past few months and that my letter was good then.  So, I was okay a few months ago, but I'm ten days past her rule, so now I'm out of the circle of trust?  Lighten up, Seconda.

Did she really think that my diagnosis changed in ten days?  I mean, in ten days did I erase trauma that caused PTSD?  In ten days was I supposed to have been to a Binny Hinn revival and been healed with a hit on the head?

I understand that people abuse the system. I had a brand new anti-anxiety script that I had picked up that morning before I got on the plane- was that not enough to go with my expired letter to show that I am still the same as I was 10 days ago?  My husband was already on the road to pick me up in Dallas and I was about to miss my flight because of Seconda who never breaks rules. 

Since 2011, I have never had anyone look at the date on my letter, usually it's just a check to verify that I have one.    Seconda, she went over it line by line to the point that I was so humiliated I was crying.  I had mascara running down my face, I was snotting.  Finally I said "How much for the my dog's ticket so I can just get out of here?"  I knew that if I ever walked out of the airport doors to go pick up a letter and take a later flight, I would be heading home and would not get on the plane.  The walk from the parking garage to the ticket counter is always the longest walk of my life.

I don't think Seconda has been in charge of many things in her life, as that is generally the case with a rule follower.  The Secondas, the people who are always second in charge of everything- almost never get to the run the show and when they do get to impose a rule on others, they do it with meanness and contempt.  She is everything that her name implies.  She is Seconda.

I do realize that if I had an up to date letter - dated ten days earlier- I would have had no problems.  So to all of you thinking I expected special treatment, I did not, just humane treatment for making a common mistake.  You can fly a year after your license has expired. 

I'm sure Seconda sits at home at night doing crossword puzzles, deciding which underwear to wear the next morning, smoking her Pall Mall cigarettes, thinking of how she never gets a promotion, and probably wondering which person with a dog she is going to mess with tomorrow.  

I hope the next person with an Emotional Support Animal that she messes with has an African Grey Parrot and teaches it to say "Seconda is a bitch.  Seconda is a bitch.  Seconda is a bitch."   

Love y'all,

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