Ok, so the 40 euro per ticket budget airline flight next week to Italy to visit Pompeii might be cancelled (but refunded) and I will be able to explain to my daughter that the Spring Break trip to visit the site of a volcano was canceled because of a...volcano! And as we were driving through rural Holland the other day there were no contrails, not a speck of an airplane in the blue skies (during this volcanic ash over Europe incident we have had stunning weather!). We saw a sky full of hot air balloons not having to worry about using the airspace. We stopped in a small village and had a local beer, watched the sunset and enjoyed the calm.
It has been lovely and quiet in the city of Amsterdam. One noticed bird sounds and no airplanes overhead! As we drove out of Paris heading here, exiting the city in the direction of Charles de Gaulle, it was actually a relief to read the signs which read "Airport Closed." We may hang out a few more days with our friends, visit a few more museums and markets and not worry about it all. It's vacation, dammit! And vacation is about slowing down and relaxing. People have not only had to slow down in Europe because of the Icelandic volcano, they have had to full stop and realize they have no control! This is nature. Deal with it. We would all be much better off if we factored more nature into our lives, and into the global economy.
There is a sense of solidarity in this experience. People who did not need to travel were selling their tickets at cost to those who wanted to make it home on the Eurostar. Heck, even the British Navy did something more useful than fighting in the Falklands and organized trips home for Brits vacationing in Spain! As the head of the European Union claimed yesterday, "Vacationing is sacred!" And it is. Thank you unions and leaders who respect workers for creating sacred time off!
Ever wonder if those Goldman Sachs boys spare a cent on vacations? What is great about Europe is that we have more vacation than a jerk from Goldman and we actually enjoy it because we are not on our Blackberries all the time or trying to impress a twenty year younger gal with our cash. Holidays (paid ones at that) are a hard earned result of honest hard working folks who were sick and tired of being taken advantage of by a quasi-Feudalist system (which is what the US has returned to -- check out www.maxkeiser.com!).
So I hope that people wake up and realize that human beings can actually benefit from having to slow down and listen to Mother Nature. I have made new friends in Amsterdam. I cannot reach the people at the train station to find out if I have a ticket or not, nor do I know if I have meetings as scheduled, nor if the people I am meeting with have actually arrived in Paris. And it is all fine!
We can do business, make the world economy function, and provide for all our fellow humans without stressing because a volcano goes off! Heck, you might even fall in love unexpectedly, meeting someone you would have never met as you lay stranded in Newark or Madrid! Enjoy life! It's way too short!
This post is dedicated to Patsy in Amsterdam for making our trip all the more lovely!