Handshakes, Hugs and Germs

I tried to kick the crap out of his luggage. This guy just charged in front of me in the maze – the belted area – for passenger screening at Heathrow Airport. To an observer it looked like his luggage caused me to trip. Maybe he cut in front of others before me: I may not have been the first person he cut off, but, I was the last. For the next 15 minutes I stood behind him slightly aggravated as the line slogged on.

I’d had a great week. The title refers to an observation. The handshake was editorialized many times during COVID isolation.  The handshake originated as a gesture to show I have no weapons. Is it time to abandon this practice? It would greatly reduce the spread of germs, particularly in cold and flu season. I started my work trip very cautious, if I got sick, I could not work, If I don’t work, I would not get paid. Simple.

What a difference a week makes. I experienced the handshake as a sincere gesture of appreciation by the middle of the week. By the end of the week, there were hugs. Such sincere gestures left me feeling humbled, happy and joyous. Germs be damned, I am with people who care. The handshake is necessary, particularly in a time of blurring norms as a result of me too. The handshake works. We’re humans and human contact boosts the immune system. There is a balance here. When was the last time you wiped down your mobile phone? Unless you consistently wipe down your cell, it has more germs than a toilet seat in a public restroom.

Back to the airport, the guy who cut in front of me got frantic; his luggage was in the wrong place, he’d walked through screening but could not get to his luggage. At Heathrow, for international, luggage is screened and then split into two additional queues. There’s the cleared queue which passengers can pick up their luggage and hand check required which is protected by plexiglass and passengers cannot access. There were 6 us, we  laughed and tried to determine what the screener saw. One gentleman told his wife, honey, I told you to much makeup, next time you will buy it when we get there he said jokingly. Another said, I know this is TMI, but I travel with a portable bidet, maybe that’s it. I got animated, So do I, aren’t they great.

Meanwhile, line cutter was agitated, he asked for a manager and insisted his bin which was 5 in queue be next because he had a flight to catch. The manager asked the 4 before him if it would be ok to take his next. They all agreed and I smirk sarcastically, all of us have a flight to catch. The thing is, he may have had a delay or a rush out of his control, like me last week. A myriad reasons could have put him in a position of go fast. However, the basic manners, the pleases, the thank yous and sincere appreciation, is in his/our control. He thanked no one; When he got his luggage he strolled off without even a hint of rush. This week, consider, how do you show appreciation and except appreciation.


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