Archive for August, 2008

Plane Crash

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde;

and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

John Donne.


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Plane Crash

We arrived at the office for afternoon duty, got our coffee from the machine and checked the computers.

There was something strange on the flights screen. We follow the flights minute by minute, all plane movements are coded. ‘A1430′ plane took off at half past two. ‘I1615′ next information will be given at quarter past four. ‘Z1500′ plane is on the runway.

All planes were marked ‘D’: delay. All but one, the JK5022.

The telex machine began to spat: all flights delayed due incident on runway. All flights delayed due incident on runway.

My workmate went pale. His family is on that plane that has no information, no delay, nothing.

The passengers list is still available. It is confirmed. His family is on the plane. Then the passengers list disappears from the screen; it cannot be retrieved any longer.

We know what has happened. Not officially, of course. We will not know the awful news till later. The aseptic information is that the runway is blocked and planes are neither landing nor taking off. But we know. We know that it will be a miracle someone has survived.

My workmate cries.

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Plane Crash

Passengers begin to accumulate in front of my office. They already know a plane has crashed, they already know there are many people dead.

Words from immaculately dressed and made up female executive:

-I have to reach my destination tonight. You don’t understand, this is not a holiday, I’m travelling on business. I want from you a written guarantee that I will reach my destination on time. I don’t care what happened. I have a contract.

Words from a middle aged woman:

– My hotel is booked for tonight. I will lose my money. It is not my fault if an inept pilot has crashed a plane. I want my money back.

Words from a man and his wife, both in their thirties:

– But how long are they going to take to clear the fucking corpses from the runway?

What will happen to my connecting flight? Why don’t you sweep everything from the runway with a machine or so? My flight was carefully planned and I don’t care what happened, that’s not my problem.

There were two exceptions to the nightmarish questioning.

A Jewish couple on their way back to Tel Aviv. They didn’t understand what was going on. I told them. The wife, with tears in her eyes, prayed for the poor people who were in that plane.

A very young man and his girlfriend, who asked if they could do something to help us, even if that meant to go away from the airport and lose their tickets and their money.

I clung to them as someone who’s dying of thirst would cling to a bottle of cold, fresh  water.

Menachem and Yael W,  David C and girlfriend. The only ones who brought a little warmth into our world. The only truly human beings among thousands of cattle. Thank you.

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Bookish Puck

 My darling cat has found a less dangerous

 place to sleep. His fixation with the

 thumble drier is gone forever.

 Now he has a penchant for the


 My books are getting covered

 in black and white fur, but at least I

 know no mouse will dare eat them.

Or so I hope…

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Frederick Lord leighton, Flaming June

Frederick Lord Leighton, Flaming June

Two weeks on night duty is more than I can handle.


My IQ must have dropped from 150 to 50. Below zero.

When this is over I will not have a single neuron left.

Neurons feed on dreams.

At least mine do.


I just want to sleep.

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Been put on night duty for more than one week.

That means leaving home at half past ten p.m. all dressed up in tight fitting airline uniform. Work is hectic from eleven till two in the morning, and then everything is quiet till five, when the check in staff arrives.

So I have three hours with nothing to do, no one to speak with, and, worse still, no place to rest except the inside office. Which is no more than a cubicle full of computers with broken screens, keyboards with broken keys, papers that no one knows where to file, forgotten umbrellas and jackets and a couple of cupboards. Oh, and two broken chairs.

I’m off duty at half past seven, and usually arrive home some time around eight. My kids have to eat, so I am usually up and cooking around noon.
One night, two nights, three, four… I can feel how my brain slowly stops thinking. If someone asks me something I can’t answer right away; I just can’t process the information that fast. Things that are usually easy become difficult.

I can’t remember what day is today, or tomorrow, or if it is Sunday or Wednesday. Tomorrow becomes today and afternoon becomes morning.

Today is my eight day. Sometime next week I’ll be able to function again.

Damn shifts.

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