I am noticing a serious tone on my posts and was wondering what I should be writing about today … looking around I have just decided that I am going to write about human behaviour.
When I was a child the news on tv seemed to be too focused on war and political issues. Despite the fact that I was only young, in paper, I grew up very fast as events unfolded around me at an un comprehensible speed.
There was a cold war out there, and soon enough I learnt hat it was not related to the weather but a certain red button which kept all awake at night.
My parents never made a secret of the complexity of events reported on the black and white box and so it got to a point when my brother and I requested for an emergency plan to be described to us. My father, very seriously, took us to the living room, sat us there and begun to explain his almost perfect plan:
“Ok so , if you think about it, small villages are rather safer than the cities because they rarely are on the maps and as such as more difficult to find. Therefore ,the first step will be to drive to La Rioja to grandma’s house. We will then go upstairs to the wc, hang an “engaged” sign on the door and lock ourselves in. ”
“That is your plan?” I responded shocked. “How can this be your plan?”
“Well, have you ever seeing anyone walk on to someone else at the loo? There is a certain degree of formality when it comes to these things so i think it would be ok”
If anyone out there is asking why I am writing about this, what has triggered this memory, I must explain that I am on a train where a ticket master suddenly found a person his predecessor had not counted. This person was asleep, and despite his numerous efforts to wake her up, she would not even flick an eyelash when he called “sumimaseeen!”
He eventually, very politely, reached to the rear of her seat and loudly, without shouting, voiced a further “sumimaseeen!” which worked.
Once she was awake, she presented a ticket… But it is not clear what ticket it was because the diligent guy looked completely confused. This was a Narita Express train where green tickets apply!! And she had a pink one!! He asked her where she was going and after a bit of a discussion and a failed attempt to establish on his machine what the adjustment fare should be, he walked to the space between the carriages , one would imagine that to phone a supervisor. (This is Japan and people care to do the best job they can and to be fare. In London, you would be charged what ever the easiest option for the ticket master was at the time, and I speak from experience)
As the man stepped aside the lady swiftly disappeared. (I imagined to the loo) . The ticket master returner with his answer to find an empty seat. (Ok, let me say that he was young, very young,so…) he panicked! Where was she? Looked to the right, looked to the left. Walked to one end of the carriage, where the loo was, then to the other…. He huffed and puffed and confused as he was probably even wondered whether he was at the same place.
Eventually the lady returned completely calm and unaware of the stress she had caused. Needless to say that the ticket master never showed any sign of his stress to her, but I can bet that he was relieved when he could close the loop. How was that expression… Cross the ts and dot the is…
Anyway, what I was to say is that clearly, I might have to revisit my first impressions on my father’s emergency plan as , dare I say, it seems to work in some contexts…
Photography by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
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