Monday, July 5, 2010

The no fly list

When Ank came to my residence that evening, he was visibly distraught. It looked like he had been through a train wreck. I persuaded him to watch two back to back episodes of Big Bang Theory (season 5 episodes 11 and 12 to be precise), hoping he would cheer up. After watching the episodes and eating two large hamburgers with french fries in that duration he appeared to loosen up a bit. But it wasn't so. He asked for sprite to wash down the junk. After a large burp that sounded like a wounded lion, he told me that he was upset because when he went to the airport this morning to catch the 7:15 from Detroit to Chicago. Although commuting to the airport is number fifth in my list of harrowing experiences, but i figured that could not be the reason for Ank's train wreck look. Upon insisting, Ank transformed his looks to that of disenchantment and said that he was invited at the annual avionics conference in Chicago to present his paper. He not only had looked forward to meeting like minded physicists at the event but had elaborately planned to use his spare time in using his search algorithms to locate Jimmy Hoffa. However at the airport security in Detroit, he was detained by airport authorities as his name had popped up in the no fly list. He was frisked, stripped and asked questions most of which made no sense to him-like religion and ethnicity. It didn’t make any sense to me either. I told him; well what’s the big deal about having the name in no fly list. As deep as my neurons can take me, most of the people i knew, including me, should be on that list as we humans don’t possess the inborn ability to fly. The only people i knew could fly were superheroes. And not all superheroes for that matter. I mean only a guy like Superman could be said to fly in the real sense. Not Batman who uses a batmobile or Spiderman who uses his web for suspension in air. So the attribute of gravity defying flying could only be attributed to some of the superheroes and certainly not to any human being.
But my discourse seemed to agitate him more instead of having a soothing effect. He told me the reason for his aggravation was that he had spent all his hard earned money in developing a prototype for the model of a flying human. He had tested positive for a duration of 1 minute and 17 seconds. Basically he believed he could fly and when those officers broke the news about his being in the no fly list, all his money and effort seemed to go down the underground sewage system. By the time he was released by the airport staff and given an apology and the option of buying another air ticket at discounted fares as his plane had already departed, he was completely heartbroken and returned home. And I, like all those people in the authority, was being insensitive to his situation by talking about unnecessary things, when the fact that he could not fly technically due to his name being on no fly list was the one and only thing that mattered to him. Before i could say anything in my defense, he dashed out of my house.

By the way I forgot to mention that Ank's real name is Ank ur Rehman and he is of Bangladeshi origin. He studies physics at the university and we share a common liking of comic books. I think sometimes it’s difficult to reason out with friends.