How May I be of Assistance?

One consistent experience I’ve had in most of my travels is that persons making a living off the travel industry are committed to having you, or someone like you, return.  As a result you can pretty much count on finding people who want to make you feel special whenever you are on the road.  This includes Uber, Lyft, and Taxi Drivers, Hotel Desk Staff, Waiters/Waitresses, AirBnB Hosts, Housekeepers, Bartenders, Flight Attendants, Baggage Handlers, and even the occasional Pilot.

In all honesty, I have to admit that there are a fair number of people you will meet in airports who don’t subscribe to this practice because they hope that … just IN CASE you happen to be a Terrorist… you won’t want to return to their place of work.  The fact that the vast majority of travelers are NOT Terrorists, has no impact on their attitude.   You are a suspect… and your limp, cane, and hearing aids are just obvious attempts to subvert their readiness to take action. I have to give the few Terrorists out there credit for their disproportionate impact on human society.  I’m sure they’re quite pleased – until Grandfather is detained, fondled by strangers, and tested for bomb-making residue.  

Anyhow, not only is this general excess of politeness good for business, it also means that time spent away from home is not going to be a complete nightmare.  You are, in effect, paying people to make your life easier.  Forgot your toothbrush, deodorant or razor? No problem.  Left  your cell phone in the car?  No problem.  Lost your ID…. SCREEEEEECH.  Now, that’s a problem; which is probably why I have so many nightmares about losing my luggage, including my ID.   But even then there is the local consulate, or the DMV, or… if you’re tremendously fortunate, some crack Executive Assistant who can sort you out in 24 hours.

The point I think I’m trying to make is that along with the physical rigors, the emotional transitions, and the general sense of being displaced, you get an automatic support system.  People are naturally inclined to help strangers. (Which is why all the drama lately about refugees is completely mind-boggling.  This is not, in fact, how most human beings respond to people in crisis.)  Anyhow, I’ve been racing from one end of an airport to the other, clearly looking a bit panicked, and had airline people, porters, and random strangers offer assistance.  Some of this is probably because I’m a white woman with good luggage (don’t laugh, more on that later).  But not all.  Be polite.  Ask for help.  Let people take care of you.  This is the essence of travel, being a stranger in a strange land.  There is absolutely no other experience more likely to expand your consciousness and teach you things about yourself.

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