Friday, 18 September 2009

Schiphol musing

I returned home today from a lovely trip to Greece. By plane, of course.

Flying is a strange mode of transportation: you move hundreds of miles in a day, yet most of the journey is spent waiting at the airport, waiting in line, in the plane, by the baggage belt... endless sitting, standing and waiting.

So there I was, at baggage belt no. 2 and this time I decided to let go of my instinct to get in front and stare at the luggage like a hungry hyena at a herd of cattle. I took a seat and relaxed, at the end of the belt, where I could see my suitcase coming at my leisure. If it weren't for all the pairs of legs getting in the way. In no time at all, people were crowding around the baggage belt like ants, staring at the bags and suitcases like said hyena, getting in each other's way. Tall, young men crowding out elderly ladies, so they had to scramble to get to their suitcases when they finally arrived.

It reminded me of the old story about a man who can choose whether he wants to go to Heaven or to Hell.
A man may choose between Heaven or Hell, but first he must visit both to make up his mind. So Saint Peter takes him to see Hell first, and he sees people at a great banquet, with tables laden with the loveliest foods, but their spoons and forks are so long that they cannot succeed in getting a morsel in their mouth, and they're starving for eternity. Then Saint Peter takes the man to see Heaven. To his astonishment, the situation is exactly the same. But then the man notices: in Heaven, the people are using their long spoons and forks to feed each other, and everyone is happy and content.

When I walk into Schiphol baggage hall and find the passengers habitually hauling luggage off the belt for each other and passing it down the line, instead of scrambling for their own, then I'll know we have made some progress in this world.

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