Flight Delays are the Worst

Daily Prompt: Earworm

July 10, 2013

Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us INSPIRATION.

My grandparents got stuck on a flight today. They’ve been sitting in the plane for about four hours now while the plane’s navigation is ostensibly being examined. Apparently they took the plane for a trial run on track after all the passengers were seated and then realized that something is wrong.

Flight delays are a necessary bane.  I know I’d rather my grandparents fly on a plane that’s been deemed safe and reach a couple of hours late than have them leave right now with a risk of ending up in Norway tomorrow morning. Or stuck in a blizzard. Or stuck in a Norwegian blizzard. Anyway, what’s worrying is the fact that my grandfather needs a wheelchair and both my grandparents are diabetic – flight delays mean food delays, and food delays mean problems.

So my question(s), Airway Authorities, is this: What is your system for plane checks? Do you not conduct regular checks? Why was a plane almost allowed to take off before you decided to check it? Do I have my grandparents for a few more years due to the happy accident of that trial run? And, if it was a planned check, why was it not conducted while waiting for the passengers to board? Do you really not care? Exactly how extreme are your budget cuts anyway?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and as much as I would rather not be one of those people who gripe about “the System” all the time, I was too sorely tempted to blame the plane people than to act mature. And as we all know,

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oh, just got a message saying the flight’s ready to take off. About time, too. Hopefully everything will turn out all right. And so ends the gripe-of-the-day.

I Didn’t Choose the Nomadic Life: the Nomadic Life Chose Me

Daily Prompt: Rolling Stone

July 7, 2013

If you could live a nomadic life, would you? Where would you go? How would you decide? What would life be like without a “home base”?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TRAVEL.

The attraction of nomadic life is coincidentally the exact same reason why books with adolescent heroes are so popular. I read somewhere a few years ago that adolescence represents to us the best, most carefree part of life; a time without liabilities; a time when passion and energy are enough to move mountains; a time, in short, when there are no restrictions and anything is possible.

Nomadic life offers much the same – freedom from all your worldly cares. Just think for a moment: if you didn’t live in any fixed place, would you be worrying about the size of your neighbor’s house? about “keeping up with the Joneses”? about getting that dude back who parked so appallingly you had to wait an hour to get out of your spot? Would you even, I venture, worry about government? about whether you fit in? about why the latest celebrity-outcast decided to get a new hairdo? about whether your butt looks big in this?

No. I’m guessing we’d all be more concerned with our families. Maintaining relationships with those who matter; showing love. Appreciating (and treating with respect) nature. Doing whatever makes us happy, whether it’s touring that ancient city, climbing that mountain, starting a business, or learning to do that stupid thing that everyone thinks is a waste of time, but you’ve always wanted to do.

We love the idea of the nomadic way of life because it frees us of the unofficial constraints of society. Although we don’t live in Jane Austen’s world of mile-long lists of etiquette requirements and (miles-longer list) social faux pas, we still feel an obligation of sorts to deny ourselves happiness and instead plod along like everyone else; to deny ourselves happiness because others are too afraid to grab theirs, and sneer us into guilty inaction. Being a nomad would mean that we would have no obligations or responsibilities towards anyone or anything we didn’t wish to be held responsible to. Oh, and yes – you’d figure out how many of your Facebook friends you care about enough to actually stay in touch with. Har har.

Also, while on topic, I want to share an amazing photoblog a friend happened to recommend – it’s about a couple and their daughter who live like legit nomads. If you have a minute, check them out at http://www.theroadishome.com/.

Shaken awake in semi-darkness

My bleary eyes focus on light

Fighting into my room

And blinding me

Through the crack between door and carpet.

Parents’ voices, low and urgent,

Frantic with pre-travel panic

Yet strangely soothing:

I want to go back to sleep

But mom’s saying get up,

You can sleep in the car later.

Brush, shower, dress

Grab a pillow and your carry-on;

Let’s go.

I remember that plane rides are fun.

Learning to Use the Remote

Daily Prompt: Moment of Kindness

June 20, 2013

Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger.

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/daily-prompt-kindness/]

Almost ten years ago, I embarked on my saddest flight journey ever. I was leaving behind my life and people I loved, and I felt lost and as if everything had been wrenched from me, although I didn’t know how to put it in words at the time. My travelling group had an odd number of people, and, with my luck, I happened to be the one assigned to sit alone. Stewing in the aisle seat, not my seat of preference, anger, hurt and frustration welled up inside me. Abandoned.

The flight had one of those television screens built into the back of the seat in front, so I pulled out the remote and tried to find something to watch. But with my luck, guess what? I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. The frustration increased, and I’m not sure I would have been able to stop myself from breaking down if what happened then hadn’t happened.

“Can I help you?” the passenger beside me asked. Needless to say, I gratefully accepted his help and learned how to navigate the remote and the television. Just then, I got a call from the rest of my travelling group. They’d arranged for a place for me next to them.

From what I remember, my co-passenger was Hispanic and in his late twenties. Probably just another guy on just another flight. But he was more than he will ever know to me that day. I still think of him with gratefulness. It’s amazing how something as simple as helping someone out with a remote lingers in people’s memories. He didn’t have to do it, but he did. It wasn’t a huge favor, nor did it right all the wrongs in my life; indeed, it didn’t better my situation at all. But it made me smile. It eased the sting a little bit and reminded me that there is still good in this world, although (again) I couldn’t have put this into words at the time, nor am I sure I even understood why it made me feel better. But it did.

So, Man Who Helped Me, if you happen to be reading this, know that what you did for me that day I deeply appreciate. I hope I have done/will be able to do, for others, what you did for me.