May 1, Marco Polo Airport Lounge, Venice, Italy
We all have things that irk us. We have things that irritate us and make us think does it have to be this way? Some people, I would say most people, come to accept things. They don't even think about it anymore, this is how things are, and they cannot be any different. They do not complain, they don't even think of complaining. In fact, they see complainers as bad people in some way. Why make a fuss? Just sit down and be quiet.
El Al airlines used to offer hot meals, even in coach, for flights to Europe, i.e., flights of 4 to 5 hours. They no longer offer this; all they give out now is a sandwich in a plastic bag. The flight attendants used to walk up and down the aisle after the meal and offer coffee and tea, they no longer do this. Now you have to go to the back of the plane and ask for a cup of coffee, and the cups are smaller than they used to be. I even recall a time when airlines offered games for children and playing cards for adults, but those days are long since gone. The changes are not for the better.
I see everyone quietly accepting this, but I do not. No, I do not, I am the troublemaker, the party pooper. I point out that things used to be different, I point out that I am no longer a satisfied customer. And when I am sent a survey about the flight, I take the time to fill it out and point out how the service has gone down in quality. I also point out those flight attendants who make a special effort.
I am a big fan of the book "1984" and I believe that we must not get used to poor quality or being told the lie that "things have always been this way, things cannot be any different, in fact things are better than they ever were."
I refuse to accept lies.
I believe that complaining is important as it points out that things were once different, and more importantly, that things can be different. This is why I am a Krav Maga instructor: I do not just accept things as they are. I do not accept that fact that one out of every four girls who attends college in the USA is raped, and that's just the way things are. I refuse to accept that old people will always be victims. I refuse to accept reality. I fight to change it. I am never content. and I refuse to just accept what the masses are quietly willing to tolerate. First, they tolerate, then they accept, then they believe that things have always been this way, and then they actively support the myth, the lie, that "things have never been better." This is what Authority wants, an obedient stupid population.
I refuse to be a part of this. I maintain my independent way of thinking; I maintain my belief that things can be done differently. I believe that things can be changed.
I am in the Marco Polo lounge at the airport in Venice, Italy, and I notice a sign, and this sign gives me hope. One of my pet peeves is the endless announcements in airports. I spend a lot of time in airports. One of the great advantages of the lounge is that one is free from the never-ending loud announcements. Last call, Air Singapore now departing to Rome, Boarding now starting for Frankfurt, will Mahmoud Ahmadinejad please board, There has been a gate change for the flight to Timbuktu, etc. etc. It is difficult to make a phone call, or even think clearly with these endless bombastic announcements booming through the air, endlessly. Very much reminds me of the Dystopia of "1984".
But you will say this is absolutely necessary. Without this we will not know that a gate change has taken place, without this we will not know that boarding has commenced! Things cannot be any different.
Fast forward to the year 2023, which actually, is now. All these announcements are sent to your App, and to your e mail, and to your SMS message thing. In addition, it is on the huge boards placed throughout the airport. Unless you are sound asleep in LaLa land it is difficult to imagine how any responsible adult would miss their flight. Yes, it does happen, but those loud, often unclear announcements, with bad accents, are not the solution. People often tune them out, and they are not very clear. But, people argue, it has always been this way, it cannot be otherwise.
But it can.
Thus, when sitting in the business lounge of the Marco Polo airport, I noticed the sign in English and Italian, Silent Airport, Aeroporto Silenzioso. No audio announcements. But how? aren't these announcements absolutely totally essential? Apparently not. Apparently, someone realized that yes, things can be done differently. Yes, things can be done better, and yes, we can survive without the constant annoying bombastic muffled annocements that destroy the airport experience. Yes, things can and should be more peaceful and tranquil at the airport.
The lesson is, do not be content, never accept the Dystopian notion that "things have always been this way, things cannot and should not change, things are perfect as they are."
To those who are not content, I salute you.
Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.
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