Saturday, December 24, 2011

From When Harry Met Sally to Karl Popper.

A quiet evening in for now; the boys have gone back home, la belle is in Florida, so it' me and Elvis (the King, thanguvurrymush) and before I hit Portugal's finest and get too maudlin, maybe a line or two of blog.

Up way too early this morning to take la belle to the airport, early as in 04:00, doesn't even qualify as oh dark thirty.  Ugh.  Reminds you of the airport scene in When Harry Met Sally doesn't it?  "I never take anyone to the airport in the first three months of a relationship becasue eventually you stop taking the to the airport and I never want someone to ask me why I don't take them to the airport any more".  More-or-less.  To be honest, you could live the whole holiday season through Nora Ephron quotes without trying too hard.  I usually default to "every year I just try to get from the day before Thanksgiving to the day after New Years".  

Anyway, I took la belle to the airport and maintained my record in the "how come you don't take me to the airport any more" stakes.  She wanted to take a bike to FLA so I did a little work on her Trek 520 (ten years old and still ticking) and packed it in  box for her.  Never underestimate the power of a new chain and cassette as stocking-stuffers!  Useful and shiny and, if you get Shimano, possibly in a grey and blue box.  Did I say shiny and blue box?  Nothing says "I love you" like a 32T sprocket.

Now, we're no strangers to travelling with bikes on planes but even my eyebrows rose a fraction too high when the airline clerk said "Bike?  That'll be $200".  Crickey, that's a bit steep; makes Air Canada seem bike-friendly.  I can't help believing (oops, too much Elvis) that airline clerks just quote you the first number that comes into their head when they see a bike, say between 75 and 250, and see if it'll stick. I also can't help believing (thanguvurrymush) that a set of golf-clubs wouldn't get dinged quite so much, and one suspects it's just because golf is the game of the 1%.  #occupycheckin I say!

Another observation this morning was the inverse correlation between how happy and customer-friendly the  airport staff where vs. the presence and/or size of the Santa hat.  The security-screeners were hatless to a man and woman and the picture of helpfulness and smiles.  They even commented on how we'd come equipped with packing tape so we could seal the box after it had been X-rayed and potentially opened.  Compare and contrast to the check-in clerk, Santa hat with a bobble practically in her eyes, who condescended and patronised each passenger I saw her interact with, short of being down-right rude.  One suspects she only plays that card when people spark off her lack-of-customer relation skills.  

So, in the spirit of Karl Popper let me say airline check-in sucks. There was an apparent correlation between suckiness and Santa hats which leads me to propose the hypothesis "that there exists an inverse relationship between friendliness and the presence and/or size of a Santa hat". Of course, many a beautiful theory has been slain by ugly fact, but in this case I think one suspects we may be onto something, For one week a year could airline service be improved by the simple expedient of banning Santa hats?  What would the knock-on effects further down the economy on the makers of Santa hats be?  Could this loss be off-set by making flying a pleasurable experience again, putting bums on seats should the hats be banned?  And what of Easter?  Whitsun?  Some random day in August?  Do your own observations, my fellow scientists and try and falsify (not prove) the original hypothesis.  If you can't, p < 0.05, then we have a new law of nature.   



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