Grateful 47

Airports are a wonderful laboratory in which to study the human mind and make-up. I am convinced that some people pack their frustrations  alongside their socks and then spend their two hours at the airport before boarding trying to dump those frustrations on someone else. At Malta airport this week, my flight to Munich was delayed by a whopping 26 minutes. It was due to board at 9.05 and when nothing had happened by 9.20, some people were getting a tad anxious. Three men  – one German, one British, and one Maltese – were in particularly irritable moods. They seemed to be travelling individually but were drawn together by a shared frustration. They had connections to make in Munich – that was obvious – but hey – sometimes connections are missed.

The Maltese guy was having it out with the airline staff – he had a business meeting he needed to get to and why was the plane late. Technical difficulties. What kind of technical difficulties (as if that mattered!). Technical difficulties. Then the British guy adds his two pennies worth of a rant and explained that technical difficulties meant that there was no plane and we wouldn’t be flying at all. Then the German, for good measure, starts on about airlines having no respect for schedules and the importance of people.

In the meantime, on the TV in the nearby café, reporters in Syria were telling the world about two explosions in Aleppo that had killed 28 people. I sat between the TV and the trio, as if watching a tennis match. I thought briefly about pointing out to them that all the complaining in the world wouldn’t make the plane appear. I thought about mentioning that the people they were yelling at had absolutely no control over the situation. I thought about showing them the idiocy of their ways: so their plane would be late and they might miss a connection but at the end of the day, they would be alive.

But I didn’t do anything. Instead, I sat back and gave silent thanks that somewhere along the line I’ve learned to put things into perspective. As Alice Caldwell Rice so famously said: It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains.

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2 Responses

  1. This reminds me of a trip long long ago on a country bus in eastern Turkey. It was running later and later, and passengers were worried about connections. Then one of the crew was heard reassuring a passenger: Efendi, yolculuk belli olmaz – Sir, travelling is an uncertain business.

  2. This reminds me of a woman at the same airport, whose rude attitude jumped at you from her child. She was reminded of the usual rule of one item of hand luggage but she wouldn’t comply. She almost missed her flight amidst she and her son yelling loudly at the airline staff who at a point lost her cool and had to be rude. They had quite an audience, they were loud enough for us to all turn and stare. At the end of the day, they had to fit everything into their backpacks, a scene that could easily have been avoided.

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