The Holiday 2008 (Part 1) - CLAPCLAPCLAPSHUTCLAPCLAPUPCLAP

Clap Clap Clap. Applause. You normally hear this at the end of a live performance or on television, but the last week I have been on a wonderful Holiday where some fantastically bloggable things happened, including hearing this in unusual places. Last year I blogged about Brits and queuing, my alarmist inability to survive the sun, and Hazel’s encounter with a mouthless bird. This year, there will be three posts again. And this one is about clapping.

Here is a little story. I walked out of my parents house at 11.42am and at 11.43 walk past a bus stop. At 11.47am I will approach a main road and have to gamble crossing it on a corner. At 11.56am I will stop at a cash machine and rapidly press buttons to try and get the PIN entry to speed up those little precious seconds I have. After I gather my money I rush across a proper main road before briskly walking to catch a train at 12.03pm. Once on the train, at 12.09pm the conductor asked me for my ticket, where upon I present my tenner, and a minute later at 12.10pm I have my ticket. At 12.14pm the train arrives at its destination, I wait till it stops, collect my things, and I walk off.

Nothing out the ordinary happened. I did everything correct. The conductor did everything correct. The train driver did everything correct. Nothing was difficult, nothing was hard, and if anything, it was rudimentary.

So why do people clap when a plane lands? It despairs me when seconds after the plane has bouncily landed that a rousing and embarrassing round of applause kicks up applauding the Pilot for getting us back to ground safely. I can understand applauding if it was me who had piloted 99thousand tonnes of aircraft and fat Glaswegian to the other side of Europe, but someone who has spent years and is paid thousands of pounds to do so day in day out is given special thanks?

You don’t applaud a bus driver, but he has umpteen cars to avoid, people to worry about, time keeping to keep. If you are late by a couple of minutes on a bus you are ready to kick the driver’s head in but my flight was on the approach to 20 hours delayed we still gave the pilot a big “THANKS”.

You don’t applaud a barman after he delivers you drinks to your table. If anything you should applaud the Police, Fire Brigade or Ambulance service as they are in real danger. What are the chances of a plane going down? 1 in 11 million. That is close to winning the lottery.

All I wish is that those who clap the pilot (trained, rested, free of stress behind a couple of inches thick of door which is lock, well paid) should also clap bin men, car mechanics, Process Engineers.