MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “adventures”

Riding in the plane with noise

aerial-view-vi-airplane-flying-over-valencia-in-spain-headed-east-towards-the-mediterranean-sea-john-a-shironFedra was traveling for the first time after news of the serious plane crash had surfaced in the media. Although she was a very frequent flyer and never faced any severe plane-related episodes other than the occasional turbulence during bad weather, this time she was a bit afraid. Falling planes had become a kind of a notorious trend lately and the media depiction of the situation was not helping. Just in case, she took a light sedative before boarding.

Everything had proceeded normally. So far.

She noticed the flight was full of many foreigners. And old people. But she took no notice. What difference would it make anyway?

As soon as the plane took off, though, it began.

The noise. The unbearable noise. And it was not coming from the engines.

It was emerging from the old ladies sitting exactly behind her. They were separated by an old man who was unlucky enough to be seated in the middle of this missile exchange of very loud words. Foreign words of a language Fedra could not detect. Maybe something Arab-related? Or perhaps it was Dutch? For some reason the unfamiliarity of the words also made them sound all the more louder. She couldn’t understand whether the women were excited of traveling, of being on a plane, or simply chatterboxes. But they were so loud, even the person ten rows further down complained. Not even the flight attendants could do anything about this. The old ladies couldn’t hear well either, so even telling them to keep it down had to be done loudly and then everything simply became worse.

People all across the plane were hoping food would be served soon to get them to shut up. But that didn’t work either.

Food just made the old ladies even louder, as they were munching and chatting at the same time, probably criticising the food, the service, and who knows what else.

Then the on board purchases had their round and the old ladies got so excited that they stopped the cart and were asking to see things – mostly jewelry – for about ten minutes. The stewardess was not able to accurately decipher what the old ladies were saying, as their foreign language differed greatly from English, and this caused even the stewardess to sigh numerous times. She eventually walked away fifteen minutes later without having managed to sell anything.

The noise continued though.

Passengers trying to get some sleep were now complaining of living a nightmare, while literally everyone was checking the time, hoping the plane would land soon so this martyrdom would end.

It is unavoidable to travel with noise. It is part of human behaviour. But why have we all become so insensitive to every one else around us that we simply do not give a chicken’s feather what anyone else thinks, or if we are causing them discomfort?

When the plane finally landed, the pilot himself opened the cockpit door and requested to see who was making all that noise. When he saw two elderly women picking up their canes and holding on to the unfortunate old man-in-the-middle, he was stunned. How so much noise could be coming out of such a feeble “container” was a mystery to him. And to the control tower to whom he had been reporting.

What the old ladies (and the other passengers) didn’t know, is that right behind them sat a reporter from their hometown who had been recording everything they were saying. Something which he later used for his own reportage. Fedra still didn’t know how, but a few days later she had seen the two familiar faces on a foreign news bulletin during a TV zapping surge one afternoon.

The moral ending is, be considerate of others around you. If nothing else, you never know who might be listening and what consequences that may have.

Also part of Daily Prompt: What a Twist!

Gladstone’s alter ego

unluckyRoy never thought he was lucky. He had bought a lottery ticket more times than he could remember but never won. Ever. He would always be off by one or two numbers. But despite the absence of Lady Luck, he got along in life pretty well.

Well, until one rainy day. That’s when he realized he wasn’t lucky at all.

He was already late for work that morning because his alarm clock had stopped working in the middle of the night. So he had to rush out the door, stepping into a huge puddle, getting sprayed on by two cars that sped past him, and missing the bus to work. As he waited at the bus stop for the next one, he got struck by lightning the minute he opened his umbrella. Luckily, he suffered no harm. The hospital was nearby.

By the time he got to work it was nearly midday. His boss was not understanding at all, due to a meeting that had gone terribly wrong and budget cuts being introduced. Roy was simply the wrong person at the wrong time. He was placed on probation for a week and had to return home.

This time he managed to catch the bus that had just pulled over at the stop. He jumped in, but only a few stops later a conductor boarded and fined him sixty times the price of the ticket he did not have for rushing to catch the bus.

As he arrived back home, he turned on the TV to get his mind off this terrible day. The TV caused a power outage, which blew the fuse and burnt all the light bulbs. Upset (and a little scared about what else might happen), Roy curled into bed and fell asleep.

The next day, however, wasn’t much better. Roy woke up with a huge zit on his forehead, as if attacked by a giant mutated mosquito. He ordered in food and was delivered the wrong order by mistake, which of course was much less than what he wanted. When he called to complain, they told him no refunds could be made because he had already accepted it.

When he went out to the nearest ATM to withdraw cash to order food that he actually liked and could eat, the machine ate up his credit card and would not give it back. The bank told him it was his fault for not pulling it out. His card was cancelled and he would receive a new one in three working days. It was Friday.

Roy crept back into his apartment, feeling as if Lady Luck had cast a curse on him. He wondered if he was Gladstone Gander’s unlucky alter ego, and if his town was in a parallel universe to Duckburg. Maybe that would explain all these misfortunes.

During the weekend, Roy slept in and decided to not even attempt to exit the house. Who knows what catastrophe loomed out there?

Instead, he took his computer and started writing. By the end of the week, he had written a complete novel. On how an unlucky person can survive and thrive. He sent it to a friend of his who was a publisher. He was almost certain he would be laughed at, but it was worth a shot. Everyone else gets published with worse ideas, why not him?

Within three months, the book was published and became a best seller. Maybe Roy’s luck was finally changing…

A dreamer, a sleeper, a traveler

Mount Saint HelensHelmut was a sleeper. Most people called him a dreamer but that wasn’t always true. He could sleep without having any dreams.

It was both funny and concerning at how easily, fast and deeply he could sleep.

The saying that even bombs falling can’t awake him, was literally true in his case. For all his drowsiness, Helmut was a widely-travelled man. For work reasons (he was a non-conformist travel reporter) he had found himself in the Gaza region. But when the bombing occurred he was safe asleep in his bed.

During another time, he was across continent, in Asia when an earthquake of great magnitude hit Japan. Helmut felt nothing. He was dreaming of relaxing with a mojito on a beach in Copacabana while rocking gently on a hammock.

Sometimes he was upset that he missed great events. Like for example a FIFA World Cup thrashing of a prestigious team.

Or the New Year’s Eve fireworks at a packed world-famous central square.

Helmut didn’t mean to fall asleep everywhere and at any time. It just happened. Particularly when he was exhausted after an intense day of travelling, running around and researching his renown reportages. He was good at his work. He was just running out of energy and lacking in stamina to endure a full 24-hour day.

Yet, the things he had seen in his life, few people could boast about. Helmut had visited all 50 must-see cities within the span of 2 years, and he had seen much more. He saw things tourists did not know existed. And that was what made his stories unique. They were real, authentic and true. So what if he didn’t experience the force of a tsunami? He was there to view the aftermath, the human sorrow, the destruction, the tragedy of continuing having lost everything, and the courage to restart from scratch.

In the end it was true – Helmut was a dreamer with eyes both shut and wide open. But he saw the world for what it was. And for all it was worth, experiencing a thousand moments of consequence meant so much more than living a few seconds of impact.

 

N.B. Links to the events are merely for reference and to serve as recent examples. No matter how well travelled Helmut may be he cannot have been in so many different places at more or less the same time period.

Barry’s flight out

GoodfeathersIt was windy that day. Barry remembered it well. He lost three feathers in that whirlwind that took his town by literally a storm. It was the pain from the third feather being ruthlessly plucked out from his tail that made him take the decision. He was going to go to the city.

Life in a big city was not easy for a pigeon. It was not easy for anyone actually from what he witnessed. He had to fight off human scavengers near the dumpsters in search of food. And no matter how slowly you closed up onto someone sitting on a bench somewhere, they would for some reason “shoo” you away instead of throw you a breadcrumb or something. People in the city were rude. That is what Barry figured a few days after he took the giant flight to move out of his tiny town.

Expectations of course are not always met and Barry found himself in a situation quite different to what he had imagined. In the city you always risked being run over. By cars, by bicycles, motorbikes, rollerblades, even by these ‘people’ on foot. They didn’t care that you were trying to munch away on that big piece of bread you found lying on the floor, or that you were in a hurry to gulp it down before some other big pigeon of the ‘Goodfeathers’ clan came and grabbed it from you. No, all they cared about was that you were in their way. Half the times they didn’t even pay attention to you.

Of course the fact that Barry was quite small compared to the fat pigeons of the city, did not help his case either.

Barry found it rough in the city. There was too much noise, too many people, too many pigeons, and not enough food for all of them. And they were all too egocentric. He had been in the city for a week and had made no friends. Hardly anyone would talk to him at all. Instead he had been pushed over a branch he was sleeping on one night for ‘trespassing private territory’; he had a close encounter with a motorbike helmet; had an ‘unfortunate accident’ on a shiny car top that was parked underneath the tree he was taking a nap in and got violently yelled at; and had to wrestle for his daily crumbs with a whole bunch of pumped-up pigeons.

That night with the owl hooting under the full moon and the car horns filling out the silence that should have been, he decided to put an end to his city expedition.

Living in a city was exciting. But you had to be rough to endure life with such high adrenaline levels. Barry preferred the breeze of his town; the gossip he exchanged with his friends every morning, the fact that the neighbor had named all the pigeons that resided in the tree in his yard; and the silence that came together with nightfall. He would return to the city every now and then; everyone needs such a reality check, simply to appreciate the wonders they already have. “Better be great in a town, than ignored in a city” he thought as he made the flight home.

 

Ψάχνοντας τα αυτονόητα / Seeking the obvious

(English text follows)

idiottestΨάχνοντας τα αυτονόητα

Τις προάλλες περνούσα από μια πολυσύχναστη λεωφόρο. Μια νεαρή κοπέλα στεκόταν στην άκρη του πεζοδρομίου με ύφος κολυμβητή των 100 μέτρων ελεύθερο που περίμενε το καμπανάκι για να βουτήξει. Καθώς πέρασα από δίπλα της την άκουσα να μονολογεί «Καλά τώρα πώς θα περάσω;». Η διασταύρωση πεζών (με φανάρι) ήταν μόλις 100 μέτρα πιο κάτω.

Μια άλλη φορά ήμουνα πρώτη στη σειρά για ταξί. Μόλις είχαν φύγει δύο και περίμενα να έρθει μπροστά ο επόμενος για να μπω. Ξεπροβάλουν από πίσω μου δυο νεαροί και ατάραχοι πλησιάζουν το ταξί, έτοιμοι να χιμήξουν σαν την λεοπάρδαλη σε νεαρή αντιλόπη. Εγώ δεν κουνήθηκα. Ξάφνου γυρνάει ο ένας και με ρωτάει σχεδόν έκπληκτος «Θα το πάρεις εσύ;». Τώρα τι του λες; «Όχι, απλά στεκόμουν εδώ για τον καθαρό αέρα»;

Τέτοια παραδείγματα έχω κι άλλα πολλά. Και είμαι σίγουρη πως ο καθένας έχει τις δικές του περιπέτειες να διηγηθεί. Αυτό που όλα αυτά όμως σε κάνουν να αναρωτιέσαι είναι «πόσο δύσκολο είναι να σκέφτεσαι πια λογικά;».

Λένε ότι τα ευκόλως εννοούμενα παραλείποντα. Αλλά όχι πια. Γιατί αλήθεια, τί είναι ευκόλως εννοούμενο τη σήμερον ημέρα; Το να περπατήσεις λίγα μέτρα παραπάνω και να διασχίσεις με ασφάλεια την λεωφόρο παρά να κάθεσαι μισή ώρα στην άκρη υπολογίζοντας την φόρα και την ταχύτητα που θα πρέπει να λάβεις για να περάσεις δια μέσω διερχομένων αυτοκινήτων; Ή μήπως το να περιμένεις υπομονετικά τη σειρά σου αφού σαν κι εσένα άλλοι τόσοι βιάζονται;

Αν έστω μερικοί ακολουθούσαν την κοινή λογική, η ζωή μας θα ήταν πιο εύκολη. Θα υπήρχε καλύτερη οργάνωση, λιγότερα νεύρα, και σίγουρα καλύτερη συννενόηση. Για φαντάσου να ακολουθούσαν όλοι τους “κανόνες κοινής λογικής”. Θα ζούσαμε σε παράδεισο. Αλλά πού τέτοια τύχη. Χρειαζόμαστε περιπέτειες εμείς. Που θα διηγούμαστε μετά και θα γελάμε. Το πόσο μετά δεν ξέρω…

Ίσως να περιμένουμε πολλά απ´ τους άλλους. Αλλά στην ουσία περιμένουμε μόνο τα αυτονόητα. Μόνο που πια δεν είναι και τόσο αυτονόητα…

 

commonsense12345Seeking the obvious

The other day I was marching hastily on the sidewalk of a busy avenue. Cars were rushing past and you could feel the wind being pushed forcefully at you by these speeding vehicles. And then I saw her. A young girl remained frozen on the side of the pavement staring into the jungle of racing cars, as if she was expecting a starting gun to sound so she could dive in. As I was passing by her, I heard her say to herself “Now, how am I supposed to cross over?” The pedestrian crossing was only 100 meters away.

Another time I was first in line for a taxi. Two yellow cabs had just left with their passengers and I was now waiting for the next one to pull up so I could get in. Two young men sprung suddenly from behind me and carefreely moved in front, like a leopard attacking its victim. One of them turned round and surprised asked “Are you taking this one?” What did they expect me to say? “No, I’m just standing here to enjoy the fresh air?

I have many such examples. And I am sure many of you do too. Each of us has these sort of “adventures” to tell. Things that make you wonder “really, how hard is it to think logically nowadays?”

It is usually said that what is obvious may be left out. But apparently not anymore. Because, what truly is obvious nowadays? Walking a few more meters to safely cross a busy avenue rather than lurking for half an hour or more on the side, calculating the speed and boost required to cross amidst speeding cars? Or waiting patiently for your turn, as you are not the only one in a hurry?

But it is said that when you’re stupid you don’t know you’re stupid. It’s only hard for everyone else.

If only some people followed principles of common logic, our lives would be much easier. There would be better organization, less irritation, and certainly better communication. Imagine if everyone was equipped with ‘common sense’. We would be living in a heaven. But no. We need these adventures. Things that we will be later describing to others and laugh at them. Only I don’t know how much later that would be.

Maybe we’re expecting too much of others. But in essence we are only expecting the obvious. But maybe it is not so obvious after all…

‘Déjà vu’s and crystal balls

cloudy-ball224 hours in a day sometimes do not seem enough. Apparently, the right division of the day is 8 hours work, 8 hours play, and 8 hours sleep. When the first two are sort of combined, i.e. you actually enjoy what you are doing as a job, then there is a bit of a muddle-up and you end up simply not having enough time to do all the things you want.

The day passes by really quickly, particularly if you’re running around trying to get things done, that you end up filling up your working place with post-its and lists of what needs to be done, other notes on what not to forget, meetings and even key words. It’s great getting to cross things off your list. But it is a bit of a problem when you cross off one thing and add another five onto another list.

I’ve also realized that no matter how many “déjà vu”s you may have, these don’t really help. Simply because even if you do feel that you’ve lived that specific moment before, it never enlightens you about what may happen next. No-one can foresee the future, no matter what they say. It is something that you are supposed to create on your own.

Life would be different if we all had a crystal ball into which we could look and prepare ourselves for the future, but then we wouldn’t have all the emotion, the rush and adventures in getting there…and where’s the fun in that?

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

Also part of Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five Seven

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