Less than a year ago, I learned that the snack bags given to you on an airplane have a tear-tab manufactured onto one end. To open the bag, you simply split the bag apart at that point.
Presto! A neatly opened bag of pretzels or peanuts.
This was quite a revelation to me—something along the lines of discovering that closing my mouth while riding a bike will prevent me from eating bugs.
Good to know, right?
Actually, that girl showed me the snack-bag trick after she watched me open a bag World War III style (with both hands and my teeth). My pretzels exploded across the cabin on a plane bound for Seattle.
Friday, on a flight back to Montana, I asked for a bag of pretzels. I opened them without incident.
Across the aisle from me sat a boy of about fourteen or fifteen. His mother sat beside him. The quickest observance of the boy revealed that he suffered from profoundly impaired cognitive and physical abilities. I watched the boy and his mother interacting as we flew from the green side of America to the America of river-crossed basins and rocky ranges—the West.
The boy’s mother prodded the boy every so often so he would open his mouth. She would then extend a hotdog to the boy so he could take a bite. Lolling his head, the boy would chew and chew and chew on the hotdog until his mother reminded him that he needed to swallow.
As I munched from my gracefully opened bag of pretzels, I thought about how lucky I was to open my own bag. I am lucky to be able to tie my own shoes. To drive from place to place. To whistle a three-note tune. To call a friend and engage in mindless conversation.
Such small things, I know. But my biggest days are really no more than a series of such small things strung together.