I guess it's "The Cat Came Back" story. He just couldn't stay away. I'm back to work on RS/1, Kilby and MBOM. I'll be here nearly three weeks again.
The flight here was interesting. As we approached the ground in Frankfurt, Germany with landing gear down, etc. we were suddenly pressed back hard in our seats as the pilot gunned the engines and took off again. Hmmmm?! I was sitting in a bulkhead seat (lucky me! I love those seats, lots of leg room and no one is leaning their chair back into your coffee!) so I was close to the flight attendant when she said "Don't worry it's nothing."
How could she know it was nothing? It wasn't nothing, we were landing on an occupied runway so the pilot was ordered to go around again. It was a foggy night and the plane that landed in front of us took a bit too long to mosey off the runway. I suppose these things happen all the time but it's the first time for me. Personally, I'd prefer to be in a plane that aborted a landing than in one that aborted a takeoff! :-)
I was in the Frankfurt airport for about 4 hours. I have some observations about Europeans.
I don't find them likeable. At least not the few I've seen in airports. They dress provocatively. They walk provocatively. They talk loudly. They call their own shots. They're rude. They're disdainful. Those are their good points.
Getting off the plane at 5:00 a.m. I wanted to find a cup of coffee right away. I spied a Luftansa attendant sitting at the door of their business class club. I figured she'd be able to help me but before I could reach her a fine looking Indian businessman strode up and asked her a question. She responded with such obvious contempt I wondered who she thought she was and what her job function was?! When I asked a similar question, she responded kindly. I don't think she liked Indians. She wound up being one of our flight attendants on the trip to Chennai... She needs to find another line of work.
All around the airport I saw people wearing leather. Not their clothes, their skin. Did you know that your skin gets leathery with "the hard life"? That is, when you drink a lot and stay out in the sun a lot and "party hearty"? That's how Europeans impress me. They wear leather. It makes them look hard and used, not friendly at all... They're self-absorbed and decadent.
These were my honest observations about Europeans and I wondered if I might be coming down a little hard on them. After all, I'm making a spot analysis based only a few people I saw in the airport whom I hardly even know. When I got on the plane however, I read an article in USA Today that seemed to confirm my suspicions. The title was something like "Have Europeans Forgotten God?" It was all about the fact that Europe, old Europe, has gone nearly 100% secular in their government and way of life. In Denmark for instance, only 10-20% of people go to church any more. There's a saying in Europe that there are probably more alcoholics than Christians. That seems to confirm my "leather-skin" theory.
The article went on to describe how this secularization of Europe is headed toward America and is evidenced by the culture wars we see today. The forces at work in our society are trying to get God off our money and out of the Pledge of Allegiance and out of public life altogether. This isn't a good trend and I'll tell ya why...
I don't know much but I know people. People are wired for worship. Every culture throughout the history of humanity worships. I'll tell you why this is true and you might disagree with this point of view: we're created that way! Regardless of what you believe about it, let's agree on an observable fact. People are wired for worship.
If you chose not to worship God, the God Who is, then you'll worship something or somebody else because it's in your genes. So Who's it gonna be?! Let's see, somebody convenient and close... how 'bout... yourself?! Yah! That works!
Get it? This is what Europeans seem to be doing. It's what makes them self-absorbed, decadent and well... obnoxious. They're self-made people who worship their creator. (small c) But if you're in a plane that's headed toward a non-controlled contact with the ground (military euphemism for crash) maybe you want to turn in prayer to Somebody besides yourself, eh?
Europeans are going to find out the hard way that secularism leads to bloody conflict and death. So does religious fanaticism. The best way is the way we've discovered in America. A theistic, pluralistic form of government and society that recognizes the existence of God but doesn't force anyone to believe in God. We are not an atheistic nation, we are theistic. "One nation under God" is a great philosophy. It will be wise of us to preserve that heritage.
Or we'll be wearing leather too.