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Linking research & learning technologies through standards » Nick Nicholas

Ἡλληνιστεύκοντος
(Greek Linguistics)

2008-06-30

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

I endite a tale of wrath.
     I endite a tale of woe.
I endite a tale with purpose.
     I purpose that you too will

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

I come to fly at nine.
I come with flights of wayfarers.
I view the flights departing.
I queue with Salonica–Stuttgart.
("Wir können alles außer
von Athen, ausgezeichnet, ausfliegen.")

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

Salonica–Stuttgart stands
a single flight Olympic.
I queue for fifteen minutes.
The duty droid frets through,
vexed that we queued for Stuttgart
when inland flights queue yonder.




No word of Gate 87
on views of flights departing,
no timetable tells thereof:
in Athens, you must queue
with telepathic sense.

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

I enter past the gate,
a little after eight
to leave at nine o'clock.
Past nine, and nothing moved.
A quarter past, and nothing.
At half past comes the call:
"Flight 191 delayed
due to technical problems.
Update at ten o'clock."

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

Update at ten o'clock:
"Flight 191 delayed.
Update at half past ten."
Update at half past ten:
"Flight 191 is cancelled.
Go hence, collect your luggage,
make alternate arrangements."

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

We queue the ticket office,
a hundred growling Greeks.
Two counter staff to serve
a hundred growling Greeks.
Two crowd controllers to calm
a hundred growling Greeks.
Two crowd controllers know
nothing to calm the Greeks with.
Two crowd controllers disclaim
all corporate responsibility.
"Madam, I cannot help you.
Write the Civil Aviation Authority."

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

Two crowd controllers cordon
the queue for corridor.
The queue is split for stragglers
to join midway, all muddled.
And Rome is cancelled too,
with not a word of penance,
with not a word of wherefore.
"Mum, I'm held up in Athens.
What? Call the airline? You're crackers!
I don't know! Fuck my Whore!"
(For so rage Grecian maidens
into their mobile phones.)

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

A half hour hence, a hero
emerges out of the queue.
"If you be for Salonica,
follow me to the gate,
for there shall we check in
to leave at half past twelve".
Uncertain masses follow:
"Speaks this man what he knows?
Know the women what he speaks?
Leaves this plane before midnight?
Who is this, anyway?"

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

We flood the gate for an hour.
The women at the gate are troubled
that we hold back those bound
for Rhodes or Karpathos.
They cannot fathom why
we will not form a line
behind gate counter 80.
What though we're never told
of 80 or 83; nor told
how we will levitate
beyond our zigzag line
(by now now five zigzags deep)
into a line of order
behind gate counter 80,
from out of counter 87.
How to levitate at all,
when nothing here is flying.

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

"Ten minutes more", one says,
"until you may start queueing."
The Grecians glow with rage.
The hero led us hence;
he bounds ahead and hollers:
"No bastard's boarding anything,
until you deal with me!"

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

The women at the gate cry out:
"Rhodes!" "Milo!" "Karpathos!"
"*NO, NOT SALONICA!!*"
"No thought of megaphone,
no thought of mediation,
other than "Yes, I know,
but do show us some understanding."
"Show YOU some understanding?!"
"Call in the TV channels,
then might we have some action!"
(Greeks brook no authority
apart from Channel 5.)

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

A quarter more of queueing,
and Grecians start to jest:
To them is this old hat,
and thus they try to cope.
The hero led us hence,
the hero leads the call:
"So... anyone for Rhodes?"
"RHODES? KARPATHOS?" they echo.
"Look, mum, don't keep on calling me.
I'm still in fucking Athens."
"That guy in front, he said
no bastard's boarding before him.
That means us too, you know."

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

The few, the slow, the polite,
they head the tail of the queue.
Another queue forms now,
men cancelled from Mykonos,
and sweethearts from Santorini.
"No, still in Athens, mate.
They've bounced me round since seven.
Bollocks to this." "Back off,
you know that nerves are frayed."
"Is this the queue to Rome?"

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

I come to counter at last,
at 12:15 or so
to render account and quit.
"... Why sir, you have a boarding pass.
What are you come here for?"
"... A pass. For NINE O'CLOCK."
"Oh. Next flight out is five.
Will that do you?"
          *blink*
                    WTF?!

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

Olympic can be explained.
Olympic can be accounted.
Olympic cannot be excused.

Olympic has no apologies.
Olympic has no accountability.
Olympic shall have no quarter.

"I could have told you, Nick"
my friend of old phones through.
"Olympic breathes its last."
Then is its death high time.
You too must hasten this.

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

Give these goons no custom.
Bail out these buffoons no packages.
Offer these oafs no sympathy.
Axe these ass-clowns to buggery.
Aegean Air, at least, have self-service.




HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

Envoi

(Security check-in at four:
"I see your team has lost",
pointing to the Deutschland cap.
"I've lost too." "Oh? What team?"
"The nine o'clock to Salonica."
"Oh, never mind, sir. After all,
it all is part of life."
Maybe. But not for long:

HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS


And Carthage, too—destroyed.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't judge a man by his cap!

pne said...

I've had hauntingly similar experiences with Alitalia, flying through Milan, which I'd rather not repeat.

At least I didn't have to worry about my checked luggage since they had already lost it for me on the outward leg of my flight. (I had 45 minutes to connect at Milan. My plane was 45 minutes late. I made it to the connecting plane, just after they had closed the door - which they reopened after the gate lady rapped on the cockpit window -, but my luggage didn't.)

opoudjis said...

Philip: Ouch. How long till you were reunited with your luggage? I recently posted a flashback from a Greyhound trip where I was parted with my luggage; fortunately I was visiting friend near the end of the line for the buses, so I got it back after 3 days. I'd imaging Alitalia would take longer.

Alitalia is of course the next target for elimination...

opoudjis said...

The guy in the blue shirt, in the foreground of the first photo (the one with the ten-line-deep queue) turned out an hour later to be the Hero that exclaimed "No bastard's boarding before me."

Oh. and HELP BANKRUPT OLYMPIC AIRWAYS.

pne said...

I don't remember - a week or so after I got back? I don't even remember whether they initially tried to forward it on to Greece or whether I manged to get them to send it straight to Germany since I was only going to be in Greece for three or four days anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, sounds like my experiences when going through Toronto Pearson International Airport, mainly with Air Canada (which is generally reliable on the main routes), where every flight that goes through Toronto is either delayed, cancelled, or left before I arrived at the airport.

Help with bankruptcy said...

Olympic Airways sound like a nightmare. Companies should be held accountable for putting customers through terrible situations like the ones that you guys speaks of. At the end of the day you're paying for a service and if they're not delivering it in a satisfactory manner, you should be entitled to some compensation or cashback.

John Cowan said...

Here's Tom Paxton's 1985 Bardic Curse on another airline:

Flying through the Michigan skies
with a song in my innocent heart
I placed myself in professional hands
Masters of the traveler's art
When I opened my guitar case
at the end of a beautiful flight
I'm sure you can imagine my feelings
as I beheld this beautiful sight

Thank you Republic Airlines
for breaking the neck on my guitar
I arrived to do a concert with the Kingston Trio
opened my guitar case with a smile con brio
Thank you Republic Airlines
What a joy to a musician you are
What a zest you've added to pedestrian skies
It was boring to be flying where the wild goose flies
But the tedium was broken by your wonderful surprise
when you broke the neck on my guitar

Thank you Republic Airlines
for treating my instrument with care
There can be no greater happiness for a musician
than to find his instrument in this condition
Uh-oh, Republic Airlines
in the firmament of travel, you're a star
for you treat each piece of baggage like a child of your own
When you come across an instrument, it's dropped like a stone
May you waken every morning with a new broken bone
like you broke the neck on my guitar

Now I've been traveling most of my life
and the thrill is a long time gone
and the sight of another DC 10
just fails to turn me on
But I feel my heart start pounding
when I get to the baggage claim
and when I see how you handled my instrument
the thrill is still the same

Thank you Republic Airlines
for splintering the neck on my guitar
My guitar case was so strong that nothing could go through it
Way to go Republic, only you could do it
Crash bang Republic Airlines
in the field of demolition, you'll go far
for you took it as a challenge when I turned in my case
and you saw the fragile stickers glued all over the place
May a team of mad flamingo dancers do to your face
what you did to the neck on my guitar

There could no satisfaction greater than if
you should be the next to go the way of Braniff....

[Braniff had gone bankrupt three years before; Republic was bought out the very next year]

Anonymous said...

"Fuck my Whore"

Literal translations are great.

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