Monday, August 22, 2011

Missing the Sign-Board

To exit out of the Boston airport’s Terminal E, international passengers ought to cross an inner door, bear slight right to cross an outer door to reach the waiting family members, and from there, the exit is but a few steps. If positioned correctly, waiting family members can see through the outer door up until the inner door, and the steady stream of passengers flowing through the inner and outer doors.

I was so positioned that I had this exact view as detailed above. I was waiting for my mom. This was her third visit to US but it was her first alone. So I was slightly tensed. Plus I was blaming myself for having reached the airport late lest I had missed her and she had gone wandering in search of me.

That being my state of mind, I saw an elderly Indian couple cross the inner door and stand hesitantly wondering what to do next. A few steps to their right was the outer door – the correct one – but if they took left instead of bearing right, there was another exit at the end of the corridor – an infrequently used exit but an exit nevertheless which did not lead to waiting family members.

I started wondering how dumb can one be. I mean there they were standing few feet from a door clearly marked as ‘Exit’, and they were standing there dumbly wondering whether to go right or left. This elderly Indian couple’s decision was crucial because if they took left and took the infrequently used exit, then passengers behind them will blindly follow them. Quite a chump the waiting family members will look if the relatives come up from behind and start thumping on their backs!

Thankfully, few impatient passengers rushed past them, took the right outer door and ran to waiting kith and kin. Seeing this, the couple – now assured of the trodden path – came out too. I was glad that now there was no confusion created.

A few moments later, I saw my mom come out of the exit and after the usual chit-chat of how the security guards in Paris had thrown her home-made masala powders, we made way to the airport exit. Just before we exited, I expressed my desire to visit the rest room. Not to miss the moment of seeing my mater coming through unscathed after a ghastly 24 hour air journey and also to allow her to experience the joy of seeing a waiting son, I had held up the urge to relieve myself however tough it may have been. Now that the goals having been achieved and the rest room being a few feet away, the Nature exerted Herself.

Asking mom to stay put, I entered the nearest rest room entrance. Imagine my surprise when I saw an elderly lady walking in the opposite direction! Such a simple action as a person of the opposite gender walking in the opposite direction while I am entering a supposedly gentleman’s haven fired up a million questions. The brain and nervous system – being as it is – is not used to react heretofore to such a situation in its past 3 decades of operation, and it was at a total loss. Brain said “What’s going on here?!” and Nervous system replied “I am damned if I know!” At a situation like this, when brain and nervous system were looking at one another, the Ego raised its ugly head and started laughing at the lady. It started spreading the message that the lady had inadvertently entered into gentleman’s room and was hence retreating back. But a moment later Reason raised its hand and thumped the Ego’s head and split it into two. I was, in fact, in the lady’s room!

Assuming wrongly that the door nearest to me was Men’s room, I had sauntered in without even seeing the signboard. I murmured to the lady who was seeing me perplexedly that I was sorry I had entered the Lady’s room by mistake and I too retreated along with her. I was not sure if I heard a few folks giggling at me but the thing that was on my mind when I headed towards Men’s room was the incident that had occurred a few minutes ago of me critically thinking of the elderly Indian couple’s hesitation at the outer door:

How dumb can one be.

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