September 28, 2008
“Choose career, choose family, choose friends” - £$%& that! I got a Samsung DV3 HD LCD and a Sky+ Digibox, I don’t need anybody else. I can pause live TV, go to the pub, come back and watch whatever program I missed. And get this: I can fast-forward through commercials and bits I don’ like! I can fit 2 hours of real time television into 50 minutes! Now beat that (but you won’t - ha ha)!
The paragraph above has got many exclamation marks. I must be real excited. Well, I guess I am, because pausing the TV feels like I can control it. It sort of scares me a bit, realizing that I must only be able to enjoy things in life that I am able to… control. Then again, it is probably true for most of us.
For example, we enjoy travelling as the ultimate way to be in complete charge of our lives. We find it exciting - to be on the go. But travelling instantly becomes tedious when it gets to the bit we have no control over, such as, for instance, flying.
On a positive side, if flying with BA, you are not in any danger of getting bored. In fact, British Airways are doing a very noble thing by deliberately lowering the standards of their services; to the point where their customers are so exhausted by delays/cancellations/lost luggage etc, they are quite happy to sit in a plane knowing that they are actually at last flying somewhere.
The strategy was originally devised by BA to help the customer battle anxiety caused by the many potential dangers of flying itself - in psychology this maneuver is often called “the innate diversion”.
It is fun to see how, sometimes, when taken to extremes, this strategy trips itself over, falls on its own head and bites its tongue. Anybody who was passing through Heathrow last Christmas is sure to remember how some not entirely favorable weather conditions were used as an opportunity to cancel many international and all domestic flights. It caused a riot, despite the customer services frantically handing out leaflets on what to do “when your flight is being canceled”, where British Airways apologized for any inconvenience caused and offered to cover an overnight stay in one of the designated hotels (nice one, although the cover was something like £100 per person and the cheapest room rate was like £150).
Many call Heathrow a mess. They don’t appreciate the fact, that its one of a few places where a true adventure may be had. Remember Alice in Wonderland? In Heathrow you may go down some narrow corridor that gets narrower and narrower with its ceiling getting lower with every step, and at the very end there is a tiny door. You open it and whoosh! - you find yourself within the huge enclosure of international departures. Imagine that!
To be fair, BA is not the only airline that trucks things up. Strangers get their flights canceled every second. The point is that we cannot be in less control of our journey than when we take a flight. An RV is by far the best choice for any self-respecting control freak who is not pressed for time. However, the train is the only option that offers the “plan your own route” opportunity without the immediate disadvantage of being tied to your own means of transportation.
The Trans-Siberian Express is ideal for such creative synthesis, where the fusion of constituent elements (that’s bits of your journey) into a new compound (that’s your desired route) positively reduces any proposition of mundanity to simply non-existent. Ta-da!
Filed under: Life Outside Russia
Tags: anxiety, british airways, christmas, control, flying, heathrow, journey, live tv, route, samsung, ski digibox, train, trans-siberian, travelling — sasha @ 6:08 pm