Home > Uncategorized > Cutting in line. At 50. Honestly?

Cutting in line. At 50. Honestly?

At Reagan National Airport, there were three security lines that ran parallel to one another. It was a pretty busy Saturday — the lines were much longer than they typically are during the week, but perhaps normal for a Saturday, though I wouldn’t know because I rarely travel often on Saturdays.

Anyway, all three lines turned hard right toward the TSA agents, the third one much sooner than the first and second, both of which went along for another 30 feet or so before turning toward their respective TSA agents. Well, between the middle line and mine — I was in the third — the rope-tape that separated the lines — you know the kind that rolls up into the poles — all of a sudden opened up right at the point where the our line turned toward its TSA agent.

I listened to a female passenger discuss, loud enough for me to hear a good ten feet behind her, this oh-so-fortuitous opening. It must have been by design! she’d decided aloud to her flying companion. So, whereas the people in front of her in Line #2 were all filing along in their own line for the rest of the stretch, likely assuming, like everyone else with either a brain or a conscience or both, that the missing rope was not, in fact, an invitation to cut the people in Line #3. She figured this single opening in a 50-foot-long line must have been an invitation to merge — literally merge, she said, she used that word — into the third, shorter line.

A few others started to follow suit, and while I’d remained somewhat stunned by the first woman’s rationalization of cutting dozens of people, I finally snapped to and told the people that, no, sorry, but a broken link in the ropes that divide the lines doesn’t signal a merge, that the woman who got this all started was just looking for an excuse to cut in line.

It’s quite incredible, the human mind — the capacity we have to rationalize evil behavior … oh, and minor, harmless, but very telling, rationalization and self-justification like the lady who cut us in line yesterday at Reagan engaged in.

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