Trying to keep My Sanity
in A Mad World
We are returning from the US via London to Italy. We landed in London. We are following the “Transit” sign. We came upon a security checkpoint.
Now... I cannot understand the logic behind making someone who has just come off a plane and taken two steps within the airport that is under their control go through a control. But, the “authorities” might have their own reasons. Perhaps they do not trust the control on the other side and say “Let us check once more.”
Well, if we had a bomb, why didn't we blow up the plane we came on? Perhaps we have a grudge against the English, let's say we want to harm them especially. But then, what's the difference between blowing up a plane that is taking off from England and that which is landing in England? I cannot see the point but maybe it's just me. Of course it might be that we intend to have an explosion at the airport and not the plane. Or their fear may not be the trustability of the control on the other side but that we somehow manage to get bomb material within the two yards that we walk to get to the transfer plane. As I said, that area is under their control but whatever... It's impossible to make a guess at where paranoid thoughts will go, so let me not even try. We passed through the detector at London transit.
There was a 100 ml. milk bottle in my purse. They got it.
“It's milk for the girl,” I said.
“You cannot take it.”
“Why?” After all, they had let me keep the same bottle and the same milk in America.
“How old is she?” asked the woman.
“3,” I said automatically. She had just turned 4 that day.
It had to be in a certain type of bottle and until 2, explained the woman.
As if children stop drinking milk after 2! Whatever... I meant to throw the milk away anyway, not that I want it. They say “Toss anything that has been left out of the fridge above 4 C for two hours.” It's been 10 hours. I am not keen on making my daughter drink spoiled milk. In fact, I was going to empty the bottle in the toilet on the plane had I been able to get up from my seat, but I could not move because I did not want to wake her up.
Anyway... I left the bottle with the woman and was going on my way...
Wait! There... There stood a machine in front of me. In the US, they had put the milk inside a machine for 30 seconds and given it back to me. It was the first time I was seeing such a thing. So here, the machine in front of me looked exactly like the one in America. If the Brits had the same machine, why didn't they put the milk, scan it and let me keep it?
When I have questions, I get stuck. So I turned around. Asked again. “Why can't I get the milk? They passed it through a machine in America and gave it back, isn't that machine over there the same thing?”
“You cannot take it!” the woman shot back.
Did I ask you if I could take it that you answer me saying I cannot? Okay, I don't take it, I don't wish to anyway. I want to know the reason. Out of curiosity.
The woman repeated the same thing. “You cannot take it.”
And I repeated the same thing. “I don't wish to take it anyway. But as you have the same machine as in America, why don't you use it? Why does it stand there as an ornament? Why can't I take the milk here when I could in America?”
Fortunately, there was a guy sitting there and he got what I was trying to say and answered my question. “Every place has different rules. Controls do not have international standards. Besides, every place can change the rules in time as we have different alarm levels. England is not under a special alarm currently but we keep the controls tight always. I can say you are at the most safe place here.”
I felt like asking the man “Can you guarantee that our plane will land at Rome Airport without crashing due to a technical error or due to weather conditions?” But I didn't do it of course. I cannot say I liked his answer or approved of it but at least I had got the answer I wanted and was satisfied.
Am I a difficult person? I don't think so. But I'm sure I'm not a standart person and they do not encounter people like me so often. I want answers to my questions. To whatever I ask. But people do not understand what questions are for. They do not see questions as questions, they see questions as questioning. Questioning their authority. It's not totally incorrect either, I question that too. However, I question their logic first. Instead of giving me a reactionary answer like “You cannot take it,” it would be nice if you listened to the words and answered the question that was being asked!
This wasn't the first time. I'm afraid won't be the last.
Last week at the market... “6 Euros” read the sign.
I am having a look at shoes. Not that I'm interested, I have so many. Then I saw snow boots for Lara. I checked the size. 28. When I find reasonably priced things, I buy.: Thinking she'll grow up and she'll be using them anyway. I took out money from my wallet and handed it to the man. There was some change, I wanted to make sure I didn't count it wrong, “Okay?” I asked.
“Children's shoes are 10 Euros,” he said pointing his finger.
I raised my head. On the next bench, there were children shoes and the sign said “10 Euros.”
I said “Okay” and got the money back so that I could take out a 10 Euro bill to hand him. In the meantime, to explain myself, I said “But it was here.”
“No!” the man retorted. As if I was lying.
“I got it from here,” I said.
“No!” he repeated.
“I got it from here!” I said emphasizing.
“No!” he keeps saying. “10 Euros.”
Did I say “It's not 10 Euros”? If you say so, it is so. I'm not going to forcefully get something that you say is 10 Euros for 6 Euros. I'm not going to get the box and run away with it pushing away the crowd! If you say that something I thought was 6 Euros is 10 Euros, I think if I want to buy it at that price and either leave it or give you what you want. In fact, I am buying it. I said “Okay” and reached for my wallet. Why do you need to treat me as if I am a liar? As if I am lying to cheat you so that I can have 4 Euros more in my pocket! Why don't you instead think of the more logical alternative explanation? Is it so difficult to explain this as a misunderstanding? People come and go, people get things in their hands to have a look and then put down those things somewhere. Obviously someone left it on the other side by mistake. It's that simple.
In the end I said it. “Someone might have put it here, but I got it from here.” And he unwillingly said “Sorry” and I got the shoes but I felt like leaving them saying “Shove it up in an appropriate place.”
Of course no need to take such things personally and react. Plus, I've got the perfect shoes for our Antarctica trip next year! Allah kısmet ederse... God willing.
Moral of the story: I know “It's not what you say, it's what people hear.” (There is even a book by that name. I'm sure there are many other books explaining these things.) It's unfortunate that it's not what you say. Especially for someone like me who is stuck on words. I just wish people learnt to use words properly and used words as tools to communicate instead of interpreting meanings, divining intentions of the other and reaching conclusions. Actually, I do these too: I interpret, I reach conclusions, I read the character of people from what they say. The only thing in my defense is that I explain my reasoning to the other person when I do such things. So that if I make a mistake somewhere they can point to the exact spot where we start to deviate. I have yet to find someone who can argue on that level. All arguments seem to go “I believe this, this is true, you are wrong.” Even if we listen to and understand all what the other person says, we do not move an inch from where we stand. As if we'd “lose” if we accepted others have a point too. Not that we have to move an inch, we just need to listen and at least try to understand. Instead, all our “conversations” with a person of a contrary opinion seem to stay at the level of personal, emotional, with people on both sides holding on to their positions as supporting a football team. I hope one day humanity will learn to get past being defensive/offensive and assertive, and live together with people of differing opinions.
OR, my other hope is that one day we will group into like-minded people from all over the world and we will form “countries” with those people. Thus everybody may be ruled the way they see fit and live happily ever after.
OR, if not, you change countries by changing group until you find the place you belong. From whence on you may live happily ever after.
“You'd end up alone in a desolate island if you go on with this,” said my husband upon reading the last sentences above.
“Yes, just like me here,” I said happily. “I'm not in a desolate island but I am in a nice isolated corner of the world with the two people I love.”
“Wait till the other one grows up,” he said.
“She already is causing problems,” I replied. “She thinks she is grown up. I know there will be more disagreements to come. Still... I guess and hope I'll be able to get along with her.”
Carlo said that I had concluded so nicely when I wrote “live together with people of differing opinions” and I should leave the piece at that. There was no need to go for living happily ever after.
Actually, that part was meant as a thought-experiment. For the reader to imagine how it would be if it were possible to live with only like-minded people.
Carlo claimed that was an impossibility.: As even with people you agree on most things, there would be topics which you would think differently.
True, but the important thing was to think the same “in general.” I have always thought everybody should be able to be governed by the party they vote for. Why not? Of course there is a public space and the trouble is what to do with that public space. Still... People should be able to “choose” their own laws with which they want to be governed. Maybe someday, our “rulers” will come up with a couple of alternative “constitutions” and let everybody make their own choice. Specific, tailor-made laws to the person. Of course you won't be able to have the right to kill and lie etc. Still, you'll have a range of freedom.
“How can you set up countries with like-minded people? You cannot leave a country and go to another if you don't like it,” protested my husband.
“Why not?” I asked. “You can do that on Internet groups. There are too many groups at this point, but in time you might bunch them together, put all similar ones under one umbrella. You may set up... how many, let's say as many countries as there are today, about 200 groups. You mass-relocate all these people and voila!” But of course people then would start fighting over which group would live where. They'd say “Why should the liberals/republicans/right-wings etc. live in Africa? We are the ones who deserve to live in Europe/North America.” That could be solved easily by a raffle. Still... Relocating so many people did not seem realistic even to me. So I had to come up with other scenarios:
Well... No need even for that. We'll all be in our houses in front of our computers, laptops, ipads, smart phones and whatever will be coming next, so no need for relocation. Those people who have a life outside their homes, like those doing the deliveries to us who order everything online, like the farmers who need to grow food to eat, they might be given other benefits and exemptions. Ah, and of course there is the trouble when you want to travel. Well... No need for travel either in the next century. There is something called Google Earth if you have not heard of it(!). You do all that virtually. Every experience will be simulated and you may program your own trip, specifically catered to your wishes perfectly. If you want some surprise, you outsource it to a designer who programs the trip on your behalf and you live the life of a written character.
Okay. I guess this is enough science-fiction for me. You people... And especially the governing body... Learn to live together with people of differing opinions or at least learn to keep your distance without plucking their eyes!