Archive for August, 2010

The elite frequent flyer…

The cumulus race beneath the silver winged craft like caribou crossing the plains.

The plane is being boarded and like the caribou, people herd towards the gangway fighting for their position in line for the coveted overhead bin space.

The elite, elderly and those with children are loaded first. The elite come in extremes – those with oversized bags and those with the bare minimum. I cannot help but frown as I watch the zealous business man trudge down the gangway with his two bags after cutting in front of me. His oversized garment bag hits me as his luggages wheels in tow.

The air host smiles at me saying “I’m sure I’ll see that bag back”

I grin broadly responding, “I bet you won’t because he’s first on and he’ll take up the whole overhead bin and nobody’ll be able to use it but him. What you’ll see is two other carry-ons.”

The host smiles again, this time not the static well-used smile, but a genuine one, slow to start and lingering. “You may be right, have a good flight!”

I was right, but who cares? The business man placed his red oversized garment bag in the overhead bin. It was hoisted into the bin like a big red warning flag and yet in the boarding chaos who really paid any attention. The focus after all was on meeting the deadline to get airborne. The air stewardess’ voice is shrill and perky informing all that luggage wheels should face the windows and only one carry-one item should stow in the overhead bin…. The other should go under the seat.
…And up it goes, the smaller item goes up also. Why impede his leg room, I’m guessing he planned to stretch out. Sure enough when the other passengers board the plane they were without any room and were trying to squeeze suitcases beneath their seats.

So the question arises…

If the overhead bin space is so coveted, then what charge for space in the cargo hold. Why not charge for overhead bin space?

Surely, reversing the perspective has a greater impact for the on-time departure. As much as 50% of the luggage slated for carry-on ends up getting checked for free. With a reversed perspective boarding becomes that much easier as most will check their luggage. Resource planning for luggage management can be forecasted. Any lost revenue from checked baggage will be made up by the business traveller who must ensure an expeditious exit and pay for the privilege of carry-on. All in all the experience should be that much more enjoyable as the animalistic hunt for space has been eliminated and like high school, we all have assigned seating.

…We all know its all about the experience!

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On Silver Wings…

Today silver wings brought you home.

Home to the earth you swore to protect, home to your family and friends whose lives you changed so incredibly from your first smile to your last.

I’m sure you have your own set of wings by now… for us; you truly were an angel. Wings not metal like the pair that reunited us, but soft and gentle wings that will carry your spirit onwards.

Your laughter echoes in my mind, your smile that brightened any room, kindles fond memories. So vivacious, your return now seems surreal amidst the sweet assault of the paling flowers. The flowers that were so much brighter when you painted them, actions that seemed so much bolder when you were taking them, and the world just that much richer when you were journeying in it.

Your journey in life was one to marvel at too. We, your companions on one road or another. So adventurous and full, with a story at every turn overflowing the cup with memories. Memories that will sustain us, carry us, and eventually heal us reclaiming the emptiness.

You found your calling growing into a man that many are so proud of, accomplishing much in such a short period of time. It is not your passing that is honoured but rather the journey of your life.

Brother, son, friend… no matter how near or far… you are loved and held closely in our thoughts and our hearts.

A leap of faith

With loss so fresh in my mind I make a pact to celebrate life. Reflecting on the meaning of life I have to conclude that the purpose must be individual.

How does one make a difference in this society?

Sitting at the airport I am approached by two tearful strangers. The question is would I mind sitting next to and caring for a 15yr old young lady who is flying home to her mother and is petrified of the plane.

Immediately I think of all the things that society could miscontrue and place blame on me for. These days lending a helping hand does not always end happily. But I look at their tear stained faces and my heart breaks again for I have been crying all week over the loss of my brother’s brother. I pray that I’m doing the right thing and agree. I even give up my first class upgrade to honour my commitment to the child who tearfully asks me not to leave her alone.

Fear is a powerful emotion. I remember my first solo flight at age 7 and think about my own battle of heights.

She is cold. I apologise for the amount of dog hair on one of the ugliest but most comfortable sweaters I own as I offer it. It never matches anything, but its warm. I cover her as she buries her head into me upon take off. I am reminded of my own daughter and absently stroke her hair in an attempt to soothe her. I pray should my children ever need a shred of human kindness that someone with a good heart will take a leap of faith and lend it.

I can’t help smile as she giggles while watching Avatar on my iPod. A distraction to help her get through the turbulence. it is a bumpy flight.

My thoughts land on an island adage: “it takes a village to raise a child”

…And I wonder if I have just become part of someone’s village.

Who will be in my village when my children fly the nest? Who will watch over them and help them to make the right decisions. A weary smile flits across my face as I acknowledge that all of our lives are impacted by not only our decisions but those of others.

A single bad decision in the pool of reality sends concentric ripples that impact multitudes of people.

I glance at my book and long of the safe haven of science fiction. The past week has been on overdose on reality and my mind and soul could use a break.

I took a leap of faith today in hoping that this decision I made to help a young stranger doesn’t circle back to bite me in the rear. I would like to get back to thinking that people are pre eminently good.