Silly Point

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Look before you leap

I almost died as soon as I set foot in London. And after realizing the mistake I had made, I wondered why more people don't die as soon as they step out off Heathrow Airport. Although I was aware that people drive on the left (read: wrong) side of the road there, I paid no attention to it as a pedestrian.

My heart jumped a few beats when I instinctively looked left and saw no cars coming and put one foot on the road only to look to the right and see a truck (pardon me, a lorry) coming right at me from the right. It would have been a horrible way to die. No one would like their tombstone to read "Died looking the wrong way while crossing the road."

Fortunately in Central London, they had signs for pedestrians at crosswalks telling you to "look right." I wonder how many people died before they put those signs up.

Moral of the story: in a new country, always look both left and right several times before committing your foot to the road.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Random Security Check, my ass!

Recently on my flight from London to Paris, I was going through security at London's Heathrow Airport. There was a long line, about 50 people ahead of me, and everything was running very very slow. Pretty soon, when it almost got to my turn to go through the metal detectors, an officer comes out of an inside office and walks straight towards me. He comes to me and says, "Excuse me sir, you have been selected for a random security check." He slightly emphasized the word "random" when he spoke but it was really really obvious what was going on here. When there were 50 white people in line in front of me, nothing happened at all. and when it is my turn, they start their "random" security checks.

But you have to give it to this guy, he did feel some guilt towards it. He was very apologetic in his manner. He said, "I am really sorry sir, but this will only take a few minutes and when you are done, you will be bumped to the front of the queue." He then gives me some sort of twisted choice, he asks me, "Would you like to go through the extensive security check?" Now I know a trick question when I see one. I could imagine what the possible outcome would be if I had said "no". I also admired their cunning because they made it seemed like you had a choice when you clearly had none.

The guy then takes me to a biometric scanning machine and reassures me that I have nothing to worry, the low amount of radiation it emits is perfectly safe. Somehow I would have been less worried had he not mentioned that. After a serious of weird poses, which I am sure anyone watching would have found hilarious, I was told that we were done. Good thing I didn't have any carry-on luggage or else they would have been looking inside the seams of my bag and what not.

The officer was true to his word and got me to the front of the line. The whole thing took about 2 minutes, and I jumped ahead of 15 people in the process. I wouldn't mind this at all, in fact I would hope to get picked again the next time I travel. But knowing the randomness of their methods, I am sure the odds for that is very likely.

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