Friday, October 9, 2009

Why do bad things happen to snack lovers?

Note to reader/ignorer: This post is long. But in my opinion, worthwhile

It has 2 parts to it…..

As does everything in life……

Part 1: The fun side of life

I am sitting in the BA lounge at Cape Town International airport. I planned our arrival at the airport to the last minute, so that the car could be returned on time, our check would be on time, and our wait in the departure lounge would be minimal.

As we got into the check-in line, I read an email on my Nokia. An email from Kulula. An email informing us that the flight was delayed by 2 hours and 45 minutes

So much for my immaculate planning

The staff at the counter told me there was nothing they could do. I spoke to a supervisor and asked if we could use the executive lounge. I was told that due to the many flights they had going, the lounge was full, and they could not accommodate our request.

So, we joined the masses in the particularly dirty, and crowded, ‘normal’ departure lounge.

But I was not satisfied. I wanted the BA lounge. I had planned things so well, so as to minimize the impact on the kids and on me, and Kulula ruined - what we usually call – EVERYTHING.

So, I marched up to the BA lounge. I had a look inside, and saw that it was empty. Yes, empty. Well, there was the BA lounge staff

I explained our predicament. And they said they could not help me. I said:

“The supervisor informed me that we could not use the lounge, because, due to all the flights, and overbooking, it was full. But I see that it is not full at all. So, please, what can you do to help us”

I did use my puppy-dog eyes too.

Puppy dog-eyes, and the fact that I was with my two little kids

The kids are now enjoying the BA lounge toys, snacks and drinks. And I’m enjoying my newfound chutzpah…..and the bar. (Can you spot the fully stocked bar in the photo of my kids?)

And the kids (and adult) are enjoying the snacks and drinks

Anyways, that lesson is an aside. It’s not a story. It’s a lesson. It’s a lesson in identifying what the obstacle is, and getting around it.

More importantly, it’s a lesson to test the obstacle, to make sure it really exists

And out of the Kulula incident of October 2009, came some important lessons. Lessons in:

• Overcoming obstacles (being told ‘no’)

• Challenging assumptions (being told the lounge was ‘full’)

• Being bold (going to check for myself and ask again)

• Using resources (my eyes and my kids)

• Being polite

But, there was another lesson. And that lesson was, that out of the negativity of a delayed flight, came some inspirational lessons…..and lots of food, drinks and booze

And the kids (and adult) are enjoying the snacks and drinks

Part 2: The dark side of life

For me, Cape Town represents everything polar in my life. It represents life. And it represents death.

In terms of life, I have memories of the best holidays I have ever had. From our hotel room, I could see the Black Rock building in Three Anchor Bay (I have included photographic evidence to support my claim) It’s a block of flats where, in Dec 1996/Jan 1997, myself, and some mates, had, what is widely regarded as the best holiday experience. It was truly inspirational. And still is

Cape Town is also the place, where in 1991, my father was killed by a drunk driver. It is an event that is widely regarded, as the most traumatic holiday experience. It was truly devastating. And still is

Both experiences have altered my perception of Cape Town. Both experiences have impacted my view on life. Both experiences assisted me to bond with certain people, prioritise things, appreciate opportunities…..and a whole lot more

In short, both experiences have helped make me who I am. And I’m far from perfect….whatever ‘perfect’ is. But I am who I am. And who I am, is someone made up of a many experiences. Some, we call ‘good’ and some we call ‘bad’

My father’s death was tragic. But it was also something that has profoundly shaped my view on the world. It has profoundly impacted my priorities. And, for the past five and bit years, has deeply effected the way I parent, care for, treat, teach, relate to…. and love my children

Last night, my children met my (dad's) cousin Carol Felder and her husband Terrence. Carol is my father’s first cousin. When my father was killed, Carol and Terrence were there to assist. At the time, I was on holiday in Cape Town, staying with my mom and dad. Carol came right over to our hotel, when it was clear that my father had not returned from his (usual) morning run. My amazingly strong mother was, understandably, frantic. To say the least. Carol was there to support her. And Terrence started calling the hospitals. I had a flight to catch. Carol later took me to the airport

While I was on the flight with Shaun Laffer and David Pimstein, Terrence identified my father’s body in a Cape Town hospital

And while the kids and I met with Carol and Terrence last night, I explained to the kids the roles that Carol and Terrence played that day the music died

I will downplay current emotions and say……

And the kids (and adult) are enjoying the snacks and drinks

Anyways…..Today, as we were doing our last site-seeing activities of our Cape Town trip, I took my kids to the hotel in Bantry Bay. The hotel where I last saw my father. The hotel where my father had his last meal, his last drink, his last argument with me and where he gave me his last kiss and hug

I took my kids there to show them the hotel. To tell them about their zaida/grandfather Louis. To show them where some of his last moments were spent

And to teach them that any bit of good I do for them; Any bit of love I show them; Any bit of ‘what is right’ I try to instill in them; Any love of life I try to inspire in the……It all comes from the life, and death, of my father

So, is death ‘bad’?

Are 'bad' and 'good' not 2 sides of the same coin called LIFE

Is there such a thing as ‘bad’?

I’m not sure.

But, excuse me for now…… I’m gonna get some more snacks and drinks while I think about it

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