samedi 20 décembre 2008

The German clap is not infectious

I flew back to Orly tonight from Dusseldorf. If ever there was an airport that would benefit from being razed to the ground and built again, it's Orly.

At least LHR (the previous leader in this dubious contest) had the decency to build us T5. Orly just struggles on with something that closely resembles the NYC Port Authority bus station, circa 1985. If you never went to the Port Authority in the 80's, you've surely seen Desperately Seeking Susan enough times to know that it's a truly dreadful place. What do you mean you never saw the film? Really? Am I the only person to have seen it five times?

Anyway, Orly was a disaster and on top of walking the length of the Champs Elysées to get to baggage reclaim, I had to wait an hour for my bag. This was kind of poor, given that the flight itself was only 45 minutes long.

But the point of this story isn't the airport, or Madonna, or the bags. It's the Germans.

Now, do you get a round of applause for doing your job to a 'regular-but-nothing-special' standard? No? Me either. Apparently German pilots do.

As Captain Skippy bounced us down the tarmac at Orly, the Germans on board broke out into a spontaneous round of applause. With cheers thrown in for good measure. It reached a point where I thought we'd all end up linking arms and singing "for hee's a cholly gut fellow", but luckily no, they only went as far as the cheering and the clapping.

Why is this? The flight had been turbulent - enough to make you feel sick, but not enough to warrant thinking that the flight crew had battled to keep us up there. The service had been, erm, teutonic. The sandwich - the choice in German of 'käse oder salami' translated, bizarrely, to 'cheese or turkey' in english - was best left unwrapped. The boarding was late and the arrival behind schedule.

What about this trip deserved a big old round of applause? Nothing. I can only imagine they'd had a glühwein or two on their way to the airport.

I was, as you'd imagine, extremely pleased to get off the plane and leave the applauding fools behind.

Speaking of applauding fools, I never really filled you in on last week's 'dinner-dance' with the great and the good, did I?

Well, I was in a tux, looking like the belle of the ball and was joined at the dinner table by a Knight of the Realm and an OBE. It doesn't get much fancier. Alas it couldn't be much worse either.

I moved away from the conversation that included the line "Michael Heseltine said to me, darling that's a tip-top whizz-bang idea - now where do we find the budget for it..." and found myself stuck with the woman whose opening gambit was "How many women do you employ". I mean, jeez Germaine, it's over. We even employ the gays now you know.

The culmination of the evening was the presentation of the charity cheque. This year the chosen charity was a fund set up for people learning to rebuild lives following spinal injuries.

At the request of the 'compère', the representative of the charity wheeled herself on stage to accept the cheque.

Now, call me dark, but I was really hoping - nay praying - that there'd be a giant cheque. Reader, I love me a giant cheque and, praise be, my wishes were fulfilled. But any joy at the sight of the giant cheque (where do you get them anyway?) was taken away by the DJ's choice of music to accompany the cheque giving ceremony.

As the woman - who had courageously rebuilt her life, having found herself paralysed from the waist down due to a terrible sporting injury - received a cheque for a piddling £5,000 (is that the best they could do?) the DJ played "the winner takes it all".

The stunned silence was deafening.

15 commentaires:

Daisy a dit…

I hate it when people clap when you land. They always do it far too soon, and we're still going at 300 miles an hour, and I have visions of dying in a fireball at Terminal 5 (or Orly!) with the sound of uproarious applause and whooping in my ears.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Daisy, my personal fear is dying in a crash on a low-cost carrier.

Imagine the shame. Your name'd be in the papers and eveything. Awful. Everyone would know.

At least if it's a full service airline you can run to the front so that your corpse is found in First.....

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) a dit…

Oh no - I love the above comment.

Anyway, I was going to say, that "do" - nothing for it but to get horribly drunk. I trust you did.

Lane a dit…

£5000? I hope the poor woman didn't have to travel too far to pick that up.

And the DJ's choice of song? I suppose at least he didn't play Money, Money, Money:-)

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Rob, I did. But I didn't disgrace myself. That was the following evening....

Lane, can you imagine if he did! Even worse....

The Hangar Queen a dit…

Jerry might be able to make bally good cars but they're still a bit shaky in the cockpit.

Over to you......

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Dutch people tend to clap on landing too. I don't know why.

And bad DJs should be banned.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

HQ, problem is no-one is buying their cars at the moment...and as for the red baron of air berlin...well, he didn't deserve a clap.

Marjolein - why they do it is a mystery. Relief, maybe?

The Hangar Queen a dit…

Could it be infrequent fliers?."Up from the country" volk who wouldn't know any better.

Hun Oiks.The mind boggles.

Word verification is 'racestra' btw

Swearing Mother a dit…

DJ could have done worse, "Keep on Running" by Spencer Davis, or "Stand by Me" for instance.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

HQ - I think it may have indeed been 'hun oiks'...the kind of people who fly once a year and who drive me mad at the security counter....

SM - or even "she got legs, she knows how to use 'em"....terrible.

cb a dit…

Oh my jesus lord NO! They did NOT play ABBA... and the Winner Takes It All??

Gauche! TRES gauche!

But I'm jealous as hell that you got to hear someone use the term "whizz-bang" in a sentence... on PURPOSE!

12ontheinside a dit…

Blimey, what a dreadful DJ. Although does it make me just as bad that I snickered at some of the other suggested songs in the comments?

Anthony a dit…

Clapping is very .. uhm .. ethnic ....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

CB, the whole night was far too surreal...crazy and weird.

12oti, welcome to the 'going straight to hell' club.....

LaTanya, isn't it just. And ethnically 'hun', it would seem.