Sunday 10 February 2019

The Extreme Middle

*UPDATE, 09.02.2019 hour unknown, Berlin

01.02.2019 0737 localish time, high above the Inglish Channel (I assume)

When I tell you that this recent experience summarizes all that is wrong with us, I do not mean each and every detail-able minutia of misery; it is however indeed a summary of sorts and it falls fairly into a realm of what should be obviously absurd as it relates to why we don't express what is wrong with us, even if it is not strictly put the origin of wrongs or thereof explicative.

Brit Heir is my current host, I'm in the middle, and the gentleman in the middle in front of me, his dreads tied artfully into what would neatly form a Mohawk were they not grown long and lovingly matted into sections that too obscure that form, has just ordered a 2 guid-seventy Styrofoam cup of Joe.

"We don't take Maestro", says the attendant who had just spent enough time with the money card called Maestro that you'd think this was a new restriction he'd not been familiar with, "Visa?" Dreaded for Joe trades him for his Visa. Swipe. "Sorry, it's been rejected." DfJ hands him another piece of plastic, this one with an impressively printed, B&W lithograph-like visage of the sixteenth President of the United States on it. Honest Abe gets rejected as well.

I might have thought this third strike would suffice such that DfJ would forgo his liquid housed in the most lovingly designed disposable container you could imagine for such a thing. No. Before one could think "three" dude's swapping Bank of Lincoln for something of identical size, to the approval of Mister Flight Servant's female cart colleague.

"Sorry about that," she says with an understanding chuckle as she delivers his order, which is followed by her explanation about the importance of using the cup's lid, no less lovingly constructed for the important and, I infer from certain details, somehow unique purpose, which the cynically inclined might think is to make what's not complimentary seem worth the 2 quid/seventy. I assume the explanation was preceded by an enquiry, ironic under the entire set of circumstances, that implied the wastefulness of including a lid. *Whether or my inference is misapplied, I include my part in this summary to be a part of all that is wrong with us.

[from Berlin]

Per oversight I had brought along with me to the plane stations a set of items I always carry in my bag should I encounter a bike breakdown. Mainly, for the purpose of this tale, I refer to the product for the purpose of temporarily refilling a flat tyre [spelling courtesy of happening's location], which is simply labeled "Reifen-Dicht". The presence of this item necessitated no short delay on my way over, a lesson learned, and a measure taken for the return trip, using the clear plastic bag provided by Heathrow airport security.

So on my layover on the way back to Berlin, the nice Lady in London looked at and fondled my baggy with bike-lements and uttered to no-one in particular (at first) a quite proper and professional-sounding name for my emergency tyre filler-upper, a term which I cannot recall, nor did I know (i.e. still can't recall & still don't know), and then, after doing something else related to her activities, but unrelated to me or my baggy, wandered back to it, picked it up again and repeated the name in the form of the question to colleagues "A [proper name of bike-tyre filler-upper] is allowed, innit?"

I heard no response, but it was apparent she got an okay, put it down, and things continued uneventfully, unless you include my observation of one Yank in line before me who (unnecessarily) removed his shoes and placed them in a plastic tray and onto the conveyor belt... and that most of us were waved around the full-body scanner, which might mean that either Albion's arbiters of a world ostensibly safer from terrorists go one level lower in passenger profiling (and hence more or less racist and/or more or less ridiculous (i.e. ridiculously thorough)), or that Yanks are just more Yanky than their Limey counterparts. The previous comment about my previously potentially misapplied inference here to my assumptions applies.