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@ July 22, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Ramblings.
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@ the Airport

My dad had a guest flying into Manila for a meeting, and I was asked to be the one to pick him up at the airport. It took a fair amount of effort to set up the meeting, which we learned would push through a mere day before. As such, it was on a Thursday evening that I found myself committed to carrying out this Friday morning errand.

So there I was well before the flight was due to arrive having found a good vantage point from which to look out for our guest. Thirty minutes passed. Then fifteen more. And then another quarter of an hour. Several flights had arrived and their passengers disembarked; yet no sign of our guest.

Worried I might have missed him, I called into the office; What time was his flight supposed to arrive?

Promptly, I received the exact information I already had on hand.

But as I took up my position again and began scanning the remaining faces in the crowd to look for our guest, I got another call from the office and learned, to my chagrin, that while I had our guest’s flight number and ETA correct, the flight wasn’t for Friday but rather Monday.

Whoops.

@ the Mall

I happened to duck into a Mall for dinner one evening, and was surprised to find a number of fashionably dressed people walking about. Ordinarily, I’d chalk it up to the generally uppity crowd that tends to frequent the place, but even then it’s rare to find such people as there were under one roof at any one time. As I had my dinner I caught wind of the fact that there was some function or other happening nearby, thus explaining the high maintenance crowd.

Since I had time to kill I decided to do some window shopping, where I learned that the Zara branch located in the mall happened to be on sale. Lo and behold, many of the same women I’d noticed around the mall found out about it, too, and flocked to the place. And boy did they lose it! It was almost as if they’d decided to prioritize bargain-hunting over poise, proving the point that good breeding does not expensive clothing make.

@ a Hotel

During a particularly lengthy conference session, I excused myself and repaired to the little boys room. Because the venue was a hotel — and a good one at that — the facilities were well maintained; in fact, there was an attendant stationed there to look after things.

As I finished taking care of my business, I noticed that the attendant began preparing the faucet and sink for my use. And while I washed my hands, I could see his reflection in the mirror getting some paper towels ready for me.

Now, I’ve encountered this type of “service” numerous times in many places, but this is the first time I’ve realized: oh, what pressure! Notwithstanding my fastidiousness with respect to hygeine, I couldn’t help but feel under the gun to wash my hands cleaner, and to dry them extra well. I mean, what would that attendant think of me if I didn’t?

Then, another thought: Would having attendants in place at more public restrooms encourage more people to wash their hands? I can’t help but wonder.

@ the Gym

Part of my routine when I get some exercise in at the gym is to run five kilometers. The treadmills over there have a setting for just that purpose, so they’re great that way. Lately, however, several of the treadmills have been breaking down, making it harder to chance upon an available one when I’m there.

One morning, I found one such treadmill free and thus set about my “run”. After plugging in my usual settings, I was off. Almost from the get go something was wrong. My run felt different, and I was getting tired fairly quickly. So barely ten minutes into it, I stopped, and if only because I suspected something was wrong decided to try another treadmill. I may just have been right: the first one, it seemed to me, was running slightly faster for any given speed setting.

Of course, I could be wrong. For all I know, it’s the other treadmills I’ve been using all this time that have been running slow (which would explain why the exercise hasn’t done me much good). Either way it reminds me of that brain teaser that asks, which is the better clock: the one that’s stopped or the one that’s forever running a minute late? The answer, technically speaking, is the clock that’s stopped, because at least it’s exactly right twice a day. That aside aside (ha!) I dare say that a treadmill that runs marginally fast as equally in need of repair as one that doesn’t run at all.

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