JournalismPakistan.com June 16, 2013
About to take a flight. From an airport, a place where normally intelligent, well positioned people become two digit IQ robots. Never have you seen so many smart folks acting like the village idiot. They fumble, they lose things, they are constantly looking for passports, baggage tags, boarding passes, losing them, finding them, losing them again, answering official questions with the aplomb of an illiterate peasant, generally all at sea, all manners, all courtesies so much flotsam on the waters as they swim against the currents of the system, what is my country of domicile?
And then there is that need to be ingratiating to everyone behind a counter...everyone who is a traveller has that sh** eating grin on their faces, heads nodding like celluloid dolls, thank you sir, kind sir, yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir, so pathetically eager to please, hands up, turn left, go right, sit, stand, tie, untie, move, don’t move, okay move but don’t think...we think for you.
All of which melt into nothingness when the guy next to you wants to befriend you and get chatty. Let it be known to all friends and foes alike that I do not want to chat on planes. Go away. There is something they put in the airport air, like an aerosol that makes people let down their guard and share their life story...they want your email, your visiting card, your mobile number, details of your life, politics, sports, they share intimate details of their private lives, they drag you into the bog of banality and the next thing you know you are swearing eternal friendship and promising to meet again soon and stay in touch and wasn’t this wonderful our coming together on a flight.
And we know the moment the baggage arrives and uh oh, there’s my suitcase, okay then, take care, off I go, bye now, never to see you again.
In 10 minutes, dude, we won’t even remember each other’s names. Flight over, deep, abiding friendship over.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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