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"We regret to announce that due to air traffic congestion and the late arrival of our previous flight, your flight will be delayed by an hour, we apologize for the inconvenience caused."
Surely something most of us have heard ad nauseum over the last few years, as did I again recently. This message relayed over the public intercom, is what can classically be called a 'failsafe' excuse (even if I took a few liberties with the classic bit). Because everybody immediately assumes that things have shifted beyond their locus of control, the erring persons involved are quickly exonerated and life moves on, albeit a touch later...
Sitting at an airport after being subjected to my latest dose of the failsafe, made me think of other situations where these could be concocted. To be honest, waiting at airports does tend to make one cranky and so to any innocent readers who have stumbled this way, my apologies in advance.
The Bat Signal getaway
For the uninitiated and those who could never quite fathom why briefs need be worn above your trousers, the Bat Signal is the device used to summon the Batman, when there is trouble afoot in Gotham.
Picture yourself in a situation when a meeting has really carried out into the late hours of the night and one needs to depart for reasons of sanity. Introduce a little mayhem in the proceedings by dramatically standing to your full height, those gravitationally challenged could use a prop stool, point to an imaginary constellation in the night sky outside and mouth these words in your huskiest voice possible
"Gentleman, I need to leave, Gotham needs me."
Then wear a party pantomime mask a touch slowly, so that people can grapple with the inherent absurdity of the action, and swill your cape (yes, carry these to office) in their faces and be off by jumping out of the window....
Please Note - Diving out of windows is advisable only when they are open and you are on the ground floor. A possible side effect might be, one might not have to bother about being invited to meetings again
The reality show pause delay
Say you are extremely late for an appointment; maybe a romantic kind of rendezvous. Your partner is already at the dinner table, frothing at the mouth and your situation seems such, that odds are on you being the main course.
Ok to be fair you might need to, depending on her proximity to sharp objects, but blame it on reality.
A reality show to be precise, elucidate how wondrously those doe eyed contestants touched your heart strings with poignant songs. And you saw her and you running around trees till branch managers were called in. Then you just had to know who would win because it would complete your experience. You had expertly planned to still be on time, but then the envelope with the winners name, made its way to the anchor and judges.
Case closed, everyone knows this could cause a delay ranging from half an hour to the next passage of the Halley's Comet over the earth.
Please Note - If this is a day date, have your re run timings sorted out. It also helps to know one of the names of the judges so that you can shower choice abuse on him/her, thus enhancing the authenticity of the situation
The office party group dance step over
Face it, you have never been social. And this never surfaces as much as during office parties when all your colleagues discover team bonding moments on the dance floor. Everyone is insisting you join in, hell your next year's bonus might depend on the moves you make, it's all too much, unnecessary pressure.
Here you might best be served by the 'Bigfoot' approach.
To achieve this you need to steel yourself to turn out just once, and shed inhibitions for a little bit. If it helps close your eyes, in fact that just might help a whole lot.
The 'Bigfoot' approach involves dancing like you're doing the butterfly and the backstroke on the floor, essentially jumping a lot on other people's feet. Your closed eyes might see nothing but the gut wrenching screams from your co workers will assure you at least a year of immunity and solace.
Please Note - As in every other place, stepping on your boss's toes doesn't get you far even here
The 'I forgot to smile at my neighbor' ruse
A long time ago Jesus said, 'Love thy neighbor', but that was probably before the birth of cooperative housing societies.
These are oceans of anonymity where people are so carried away by their own lives that there really is no time to stand and stare. Though staring does depend a lot on the specimen under examination.
We often hear 'But I always smile at you, why don't you smile back' kind of question or look thrown at us and there is only one civilized way to deal with it.
Unleash the animal within.
To be more precise, indulge pets that clearly make people immediately back away.
Giant King Cobras, evil looking praying mantises and ugly large spiders should be emerging from every known crevice of your wardrobe. Then count the number of times people actually make eye contact.
For amusement, actually follow your neighbors when they are on an evening or morning walk and try and get as close as possible, pretend like you are calling out to them and watch them up their tempo.
What started out as a walk can turn out to be an invigorating sprint. Like the Lord said, 'If you love someone, you are responsible for their pulse rate'
Please Note - This can result in you getting some severe nick names like 'Spiderman' or result in your house being called the 'Cobra'sthan, but it's a small price to pay for blissful solitary confinement
The Indian innings synchronization factor
Brilliant failsafe for any activity that looks like not enough time has been spent on it. Be it cleaning your room, preparing a project report, cooking an elaborate meal for some guests, writing an apology note, just say that what happened is not cricket.
The challenge is to convince your audience is that your working effort is tuned and timed to the duration of the Indian cricket innings, this is something that has been ingrained in your DNA ever since the time you began doing any kind of serious work. And the number of overseas tours that the Indian team has undertaken probably sums up your slovenly performance thus far.
Please Note - Be sure to use this defense only in terms of Indian batting performances overseas, equating them to the time they spend batting at home can let you in for some unnecessary hard work
In the end while none of these might seem like the commandments, nobody ever said waiting at an airport would lead to enlightenment. The only tablets you might need or experience after coming thus far, are the ones usually popped to alleviate headaches.
Excuses are the crutches of our existence sometimes; in so far as we need them, we might as well find more entertainment in coming up with them....