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Cabbages & Kings: Silver linings – as long as your sense of humour holds up

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I can’t wait for the “Don’t Panic” book to be published in May (see the story on IT-Online yesterday). 

Based on an “inspirational e-mail” to employees by Alan Knott-Craig, Penguin Books and iBurst have appealed to South Africans to contribute their positive thoughts about the country via a blog site and SMS and they will then to publish these thoughts.
I’ve got the feeling that “Don’t Panic” is going to be a best-seller – the most hilarious collection of anecdotes and funny stories since Monty Python and the Goons all those decades ago.
Just this week I had to dig deep to find the silver lining in the dark clouds that threatened to blot out any positive thoughts I may have had.
Starting on Sunday evening I took my sister to OR Tambo International to catch a SAA flight back to the UK after she had spent a month visiting family.
After having called SAA earlier in the day to confirm her reservation and check that there was no delay due to the recent baggage handling fiasco, we arrived at the check-in desk almost three hours ahead of departure.
The check-in was a disaster. My sister, along with about 40 other passengers who thought they were on the flight to Heathrow, were told in no uncertain terms that the flight was over-booked and that their seats had already been allocated to other passengers. No apology. They were simply told to come back the next day.
It was quite amusing to eavesdrop on the extremely convincing arguments that were put forward by passengers who simply HAD to be on the flight.
All the tried and tested “parachute debate” techniques were rolled out along with threats of legal action and even enquiries about how much was needed to get in on the “bribe auction”.
Inevitably, the question of how South Africa will ever cope with the World Cup in 2010 was rolled into insults that were hurled by irate passengers.
One very officious SAA manager offered no apology but did come up with the following explanation: “We are in business to make money. We make money by over-booking every flight. If passengers fail to get a seat on one flight, they are welcome to try the next. If they find this unacceptable, they are free to choose to fly with another carrier. If they think they are going to get a seat on any other carrier tonight, they are kidding themselves."
And the “silver lining” in this situation? I was more than delighted to have my sister spend an extra day with us!
Then, on Tuesday evening, the lights at home went out at 18h30. Turns out it was a genuine power failure and had nothing to do with “load shedding”. Calls to City Power proved to be virtually useless. All that could be confirmed was that they were aware of the failure and that “technicians are working on the problem”.
As it happened, it took the technicians 24 hours to fix the problem.
And the “silver lining” in this situation? We ended up having a massive, long overdue and extremely festive “dinner party” for friends and family to avoid wasting all the perishables that had thawed in the deep freeze. You won’t believe the number of dishes that were cooked up using gas griddles and braais. A good time was had by all.
As I said: can’t wait for the book.
– David Bryant