Up where the air is clear / up in the atmosphere

How I know I’m liv­ing in Indone­sia:

Fly­ing into Bali yes­ter­day on Air Asia, I, as always, put on the iPod as soon as I sat down and pulled out my book. I don’t need to hear all the ver­bal warn­ings, advice and oth­er garbage, and am firm­ly of the belief that the weath­er will be what it is at the oth­er end regard­less of what I’m told, and in Indone­sia that’s always hot; I have no inten­tion of mak­ing cell­phone calls in flight or light­ing up; and, in Indone­sia the plane will nev­er arrive on time. Oh, and if it goes down none of that shit they demon­strate will make the blind­est bit of dif­fer­ence.

So on goes the iPod, and out comes the heavy and depress­ing his­tor­i­cal tome that I always car­ry, and off it goes as the plane glides to a halt at the oth­er end. On count­less air­lines, from the era of the walk­man onwards, that’s been a phi­los­o­phy with­out a prob­lem. So, it was with some sur­prise when then lady in the bright red suit asked me to put away my iPod for land­ing. Apa? I asked, and she said I need­ed to put it away to land. Non­sense says I, I’ve nev­er done so in the past and don’t see what dif­fer­ence it makes. Its Air Asia pol­i­cy said she. It wasn’t when I flew with you before I said. It is now she said. Kena­pa? said I. Because she said – wait for it – if you have your iPod on you might not notice if the plane crash­es.

What could I say… how can you dis­pute log­ic like that.

Then, of course, we have this recent text mes­sage, received by Brigid from a sup­pli­er of arte­facts for which we were wait­ing for pay­ment for from an over­seas cus­tomer. We had giv­en the guy a deposit to hold the items when this SMS arrived:

Sor­ry Bos, we ar need mon­ey tuday because may famili is dead in hos­pi­tal. Please give me two mil­lion before orready deposit two mil­lion

This, nat­u­ral­ly, was a cause of some con­cern to us, espe­cial­ly since we were not in Indone­sia at the time and there was lit­tle we could do. For­tu­nate­ly, anoth­er text arrived a short time lat­er and the fam­i­ly had made a mirac­u­lous and speedy recov­ery and now they need­ed the cash for a feast. Thank heav­ens for that …

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