Dances With Words - Nick Wolochatiuk
Nick Wolochatiuk

Some sights, sounds, smells, and signs stimulate memories.

Seeing a long-discontinued brand name item during the process of clearing out a garage,  brought me back to the days when I started driving. “Wow! An unopened can of Supertest oil! That’s what I used in my first car, a 1963 Beetle.”

As the fog rolled in, “Farewell to Nova Scotia!” was the song that Anne Murray sang at the Fishermen’s Festival in Lunenburg. We were about to turn around to head home after our 1971 stay in the Maritimes.

One of my most stimulating smells is of bread being taken out of a baker’s oven. Our 1972 ritual when we were cycle-camping in France was to follow our noses to find the village bakery. Every village along the Loire hasone. A baguette must be eaten while it’s hot out of the oven.

Just a few weeks ago I was in an airline terminal, waiting for a four-hour delayed flight to arrive. Every fifteen minutes an automated voice would sternly announce, “DO NOT LEAVE ANY LUGGAGE UNATTENDED! IT CAN BE CONFISCATED, INSPECTED AND POSSIBLY DESTROYED.” In the washroom, a sign admonished me with “SEE SOMETHING – DO SOMETHING!”

When my passenger finally arrived, one of his pieces of luggage failed to drop onto the carousel. That prompted him to abandon his cart and the rest of his baggage in the middle of the terminal’s arrivals concourse. Off he went to make an enquiry about his missing item.


THE SIGN SAYS IT ALL – (Photo by Nick Wolochatiuk)


The sight of that abandoned luggage brought back some troubled memories of 2017: the terminal of Athens Airport, ‘Eleftherios Venizelos’, ICAO code LGAV.  A stout older woman, dressed head-to-toe in black, including a black hijab, was having a heated argument with a young airline ticket agent. It was obvious that neither spoke a language common to both. Everything being shouted was Greek to me too. The passenger was insisting that two large, full garbage bags be allowed on her flight. The agent was insisting just the opposite.

I watched and listened intensely, feeling sympathy for the situation of both parties.

Then a tall, dark, well-dressed man eased himself up to the counter. After a few quiet words the ticket agent yielded.

Just then, our flight was called. We hurried to the announced departure gate.

Next week I’ll share my tentative judgement about what was going on at that check-in counter. All I’ll tell you now is, I felt concerned and guilty, but glad I wasn’t going to be on that flight! Feel free to share your take on this scenario.

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