Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ponder Post 7

Just to recap, my inter-galactically applauded Ponder Post series has now solved an impressive series of outstanding problems.
1)The meaning of life. 2)What teenage girls mean by 'like'. 3)What a world would be like without hangovers. 4)What is it about breakfast? 5)Water. Why? 6)Where are the true conservatives?
At this rate we should have cleared our desks of the the whole existence/life mystery by Christmas and we will be able to move on to more pressing matters like creating enduring works of the human imagination, falling in love and dying.
This morning I did think of initiating a ponder on why people think rock concerts cure everything. But, in this case, I didn't want to be sour. Daily, of course, I have to resist the temptation to simply insert 'Why?' after things like Canada and halitosis. And Zen-like ponders such as 'What's the difference between a duck?' must wait until we have got more practical matters out of the way. (Anyway, the well-known duck answer - it's got one leg both the same - cannot seriously be disputed.)
And so, after careful consideration, the Ponder Post committee has decided that the question that most urgently needs to be answered today is: why, whatever happens in the world, is the outcome always the same - people queueing at airports? Is it a punishment - do governments force people to queue to teach them a lesson - or a consolation - do people rush to airports in times of crisis as they would to their mother's embrace? It is, I hope you agree, a great mystery which only we can crack.


  1. What would happen if a practical means of teleportation were discovered, and developed successfully for the mass market?

    Leaving aside the question of whether they would preserve our personal identity, or whether personal identity really exists, would we all queue for hours to book-in at teleportation centres? Would our luggage have to be scanned before being teleported? Would the government impose a teleportation tax? Would they be good for the environment? They might not generate greenhouse gases, but they'd presumably require plenty of energy, and release plenty of waste heat.

  2. All governments engage in this propaganda in order to reassure their citizens and the world that everything is proceeding normally. An empty airport is a country on its knees.

    Previously, I imagine that resting actors and servicemen and women were used as "queuers". A nice day out, a few bob and the chance to experience the intoxication of duty-free shopping, avian spirit, malevolent staff and a small flutter on whether the luggage carousels run clockwise or anti-clockwise.

    These days Photoshop must have replaced "real" people, but then it's some years now since I've been to an airport. Robin, prepare the Batmobile!

  3. Would the government impose a teleportation tax?

    Imagine it would be next to impossible to find an oddsmaker willing to take the chance that they would not.

  4. It would seem most efficient to take the whole flying thing out of the equation. We could just have special queueing centres where people could go in times of crisis. Big Brother achieves a similar effect.

  5. Years ago, when I lived in Hong Kong, a running joke was that if one placed a sign reading "Queue Here" on a sidewalk, any passing Brits would stop what they were doing and stand there, waiting patiently.

    Hong Kongers, OTOH, took great pride in their failure to queue for anything, narrow entrances to buses in particular. Those departing the colony from the old Kai-Tak Airport inevitably witnessed the true meaning of run amok as well.

  6. I like the idea of airports without any air travel - cathedrals of gloriously Godless pointlessness, where Brits can go in times of trouble to find consolation in queuing.

    And also in that other Great British treat: 'making do'. Making a grab for a trio of plastic seats and there building a little nest out of bags and sweaters; rucksacks for pillows; Mum and kids in a huddle over colouring books and I-Spy while Dad goes off on a scavenging mission for Boots sandwiches and lukewarm bottles of Evian; cleaning your teeth in the gents, spirit of the Blitz et cetera et cetera.