Starbucks and Security

(This is my travel journal that I kept during a medical mission to Paraguay; part one can be found here)

September 24, 2015. 19:00

Gate D31 ZRH

Out of habit and pursuant to caffeinate, I stopped at the Starbucks just past Check-in #2 at the Zürich Flughafen; a slight headache ensued. I have seven Francs in coins and several one hundred Swiss Franc bills to exchange. I find my beverage of choice on their list; their smallest Mocha is seven Francs and ten Rappen.

“Seven-****ing-ten!” I almost say it out load. My headache intensifies. I attempt to rationalize a different, cheaper offering. I feel exploited. I cannot possibly bare the justification. The coins fall to the bottom of my pocket and I step out of line and into a much larger queue; security. In front of me are two guys, perhaps slightly younger than I, ok, maybe ten years younger; both are wearing satchels.

I chuckle, nearly out loud, “Ha! They are both wearing a man-purse!” One of them, the obvious consumer of the two, had some kind of Swiss watch, perfect glasses and not just the latest iPhone but also the latest Samsung phone as well, I suppose. I am shaking my head (mentally). When did we, as humans, need two phones? Or even one for that matter.  At least they would rather follow the Spanish ladies in front of them instead of taking a shorter line.

I ditched my smelly boots and liquids in the tray, but pulled aside after the metal detector (not a piece of metal on me) only to be relentlessly swabbed and scanned and told “now we’ll see” as the towelette is inserted into the chemical analyzer by the blue nitrile gloved security man. I doubt it is a violation to travel with rank boots, but come to think of it, maybe they are outgassing something toxic. Like he said, “Now we’ll see.” I felt like telling him that it is not bomb residue, just my soiled hiking boots which could easily cause alarms to misfire. All joking aside and as expected, I am all clear.

We are all Prototypes

September 24, 2015. 21:30

Gate D35 LHR

I read an engineering article in the business section of the British Airline Magazine on my way to London Heathrow as the man next to me fidgeted and shook. I understand uneasy, or nervousness to fly, but it was the way he rubbed his hands that would make most people nervous. He was a normal man in appearance, fidgeting while rubbing his hands; relentlessly.

The article, in general, was about thinking like an engineer and the intrinsic benefits of evolutionary betterment which may result. In a sense, the article was siding with the technologically capacitated in a way that was “they’re not so bad.” The point I felt which was of most interest was a point about, or a comparison to, humans being prototypes. In a sense of perpetual revolving and evolving improvements. However odd this may sound to some, the comparison shifted to what I found interesting, human beings and subsequently Mother Nature. The mother of all prototype cycles which differs from engineering as there is no end goal; a continual state of improvement and adjustments based on one’s environment. As much as engineering is perhaps timelier in its quest for improvements, its end game is always to a point or limit, at least until another technology surpasses it. Here lays the similarity equating the two; Mother Nature and engineering. To evolve as a species is to engineer a better solution or be replaced by another species, a point the article failed to draw.  Am I today, the best version of myself?  Is any of us?  Food for thought as we try to be.

The twitching man didn’t settle after his whiskey nor after the second one.

In the time it took me to write this last paragraph, my gate filled from three or four people to several hundred, ninety percent of which are elderly women speaking Spanish or Portuguese. All of them are very social, laughing and unfazed by the twelve hour flight before us. Suddenly there is the pre-boarding call, and all the old ladies rush the gate. Queues not in London.
General Disclaimer:

The views expressed on this website/blog post are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or Operation Smile. The author encourages your help and support by donating to support medical missions by Operation Smile via this link:

#JNJ #MyCompany

This blogpost-series are pages of my personal journal leading up to and during my first medical mission to Asunción, Paraguay. I hope this series encourages you to serve global communities and/or donate to a wonderful organization that improves the lives of children and families around the world!


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