Thursday, February 07, 2008

luggage has to do with the state of the world

Dennis is in Italy. Dennis is technologically challenged. He's purchased a phone, but gets aggravated with it, especially since he happens to call when no one can pick up, so he winds up leaving messages that end with a sigh.

He was in Italy for Carnivale. He loves it, and it is great. I've gone several times. It can be just fun--the entertainment in St. Mark's Square is free, people are fun, and okay, the Euro is still a killer, but it can be somewhat reasonable. Now, the balls are expensive. Very. Several hundred dollars for a meal ticket, but the costumes are spectacular, the food is . . . I'll get to that! and each ball has entertainment. So, it's cool. Also, the Italian people tend to be warm and generous and giving. I love going to Italy, but right now, I'm in the middle of Chynna's last year in high school and I already travel so much that one might think I was a salesman of old. I will go back--I'm the Scottish/Irish one, but I actually speak some Italian, had to know what my mother-in-law was saying about me! But the point with his travels is another airline woe. He leaves. He gets to London. His next flight is delayed by six hours. In six hours, they couldn't quite get his luggage on the plane. He spent three days in Venice luggage-less. Okay, they do sell toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, underwear, and other essentials. They sell expensive clothing, too. The bewilderment--how come, with a six hour delay, does luggage not make it to the plane?

What disturbs me is that, in businesses where customer service is part of the concept, how do you use tragedy and fear to eliminate the concept of courtesy and service?

On our plane back from New York, even the pilot was surly. I'm not sure I blame him--they kept putting him back in line. You know, we'll be taking off in about three minutes, we're third in line, and then, we'll be taking off in about fifteen minutes, we're now twelfth in line.

A lot of things go into it all, I know. There is the airport. There are the airline employees. There are TSA. There are many positions in the many divisions. Throw in human nature. But I still get annoyed.

My sister worked for Delta for most of her adult life. After 9/11, she and her fellow employees accepted massive salary cuts.

When the money went back up, their paychecks did not. They worked longer hours.

My sister passed away, and I honestly think that her situation at work had a lot to do with the way that her illness spiralled. In my heart, right or wrong, I'll always blame them (along with our medical lack of communication in the US!) But I understand how hard employees work, how hard it might be for them. What I don't understand is how, at the top, something isn't done. Maybe that's why--though I'm very grateful for my own income--I just can't believe in anything that's labeled "trickle down economics." It's not the little guys that get the breaks, it's the big guys--who already know every loop hole in history.

Those who have--keep.

We all have to keep a sense of humor, I guess. It always depends on where you are, though. I had to laugh a bit when Dennis told me about the luggage, but as he worried about his things, I'm sure he didn't think that it was very funny. I think it might have been his bewilderment at how, with so much time, does it not make it from one plane to another.

In the scope of the world, no big deal. None at all. But in the scope of the world, it does bring home some important factors. We do need to make sure that we are all on board when cuts are needed ,and we do need to make sure that the average Joe is also given courtesy and slack again when we're on an even keel.

And as to medicine in the United States and insurance for everyone . . . .

That's why I'm excited about Novemeber. Hope is on the horizon. And I think that all our candidates know that the world, especially our place in it, is in dangerous mode, and that it is a time to create a change for human beings and make it a place where our children have a prayer for a decent future with lives worth living.

Um. Speaking of such . . . .

Italian food. We think of it as lasagna, spaghetti, and great sauces. Well, those do exist. But the "state" dish of Venice is the cutlefish. And every single dish there seems to come with little baby octopi scattered on top of it. I love fish, so Dennis can never understand why I'm not excited about an Adriatic fish I've never heard of covered with little baby octopi.

Actually, some of the food is terrific.

All you have to do if you've grown up on a meat and potatoes Irish American diet is pick off the octopi.

And the Italians--and visitors from around the globe who arrive for Carnivale--are super nice. Even the French. Even when those from other countries watch them where they sit in cafe windows, kind of finding a universal appeal in making fun of the French. Because, of course, they do have the most elegant, striking outfits and everyone is actually envying them! But it's a friendly kind of jealousy/making fun of.

Almost a little United Nations.

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