Friday, March 27, 2015

Going Down

It could've been me again ... sort of.

On September 11, 2001, I happened not to be working audio-visual with the Windows on the World team at 1 World Trade Center ... in the North Tower, up on the 106th floor there, where I'd arrive for freelance gigs fairly regularly, and in fact, just completed one two days prior.

Photo(s) by Jglo - 'East Village'

Now yesterday, as I'm holed up in a Starbucks, waiting for an afternoon appointment to show, the ground shakes ... a terrible BOOM rents the (terrible) day ... and the entire store pours onto the New York sidewalk, cell phones raised, Instagram at the ready ...

I'm literally the only one left inside.  Not deigning to join all the show business kids falling over themselves not to feel, but to transmit, a unique experience -- letting it wash over and past them, instead of sinking in and through -- I help myself to a blueberry muffin, snap a few photos of billowing smoke and walk north, uptown, to get away from it all.

Then Germanwings ... German things, in general (prosaically speaking) do not tend to fail.  There is pride in the ranks of the Mittelstandes ... the industrial middle class ... engine and backbone of Europe's standout economy.

Pride.  Perfection.  Precision ... macht frei.  All the trains are on time, I can ride with my phone ... I never once worry about scalding myself, under an electronic showerhead, with temperature exactitudes to a quarter-degree Celsius (!), whenever I'm scrubbing myself in M√ľnchen.

I've never once boarded a plane in Germany -- or more precisely, a German airline -- and needed to worry about being delayed, bumped, cancelled (Hundewetter notwithstanding) or otherwise inconvenienced ... or frankly, pissed off by the attitudes of lazy, bored, undertrained, overwhelmed workers.  There are no such, pathetically flailing in Germany.  Instead, for the most part -- though, in all honesty, with increasing exception -- there is PRIDE still:  in work performed well; services capably rendered.

Some of this dichotomy, I imagine, is generational - There tends to be an older, more loyal, established and responsible workforce in Germany, so things run efficiently:  with experience, common sense and allowances for dignity ... as compared to the soullessly fearful, pig-headed and/or nonsensical service sectors of other places, the U.S. in particular.

Some seemingly glaring differences in attitude, though, I acknowledge, just might be imagined.  For example, I speak almost kein Deutsch ... I can't really know for certain who's slacking, who's beefing, who's grousing about work or their shitty day ... and I can't respond anyway, if I do get pissed off.  In Germany, I'm forced more to swallow nonsense, perhaps ...

But generally (prosaically) speaking, German things don't tend to fall from the sky.  When I heard the news yesterday that Germanwings co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, intentionally flew Flight 9525 into a mountain, it first came as a relief to me:  It wasn't terrorism.  This one was not a small battle in World War III ... At least that.

It didn't come as a surprise, though.  In the scope of things, given Germany's overall track record for efficiency and manufacturing efficacy, something was wrong (German things don't just fall out of the sky) ... The crash of Germanwings Flt. 9525 could only have been intentional, I thought.

Lo and behold ...
Photo(s) by Jglo - "Wings & Prayers"
“Wings & Prayers”, ©Jeff Glovsky