Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 28: Paradise Lost | Bad Connotation

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When I turned my phone on (or rather de-activated airplane mode) on Friday morning, I had 2 WhatsApp messages and one SMS by concerned friends asking me if I was in Nice and whether I was fine. I was confused and immediately checked Needless to say, I was shocked when I read about the horrific attack and asked Mademoiselle to check if our landlady of the place where my friends and I stay in Nice every summer is fine. Thankfully, both her and her friends and family are not affected and I don't know anyone who is.
I will, however, travel to Nice next month. Not for one minute did I contemplate cancelling my holiday plans, but it brought back memories of previous holidays when I travelled to "crisis areas" and got very annoyed by well-meaning people worrying and asking me are you SURE? Yes, I am, since I am pretty fatalistic and a firm believer in the Lightning doesn't strike twice theory. Needless to say, I won't flirt with danger and knowingly seek out situations and environments that "invite" terrorist attacks or natural disasters of any kind, but let's face it: anything can happen anywhere. I could be run over by a car or knocked out by a roof tile right here in Vienna tomorrow, but still would not lock myself in my flat.
That said, I can't help having a very selfish and childish reaction when hearing about horrific events right at a place where I am travelling to, thinking "Oh NO, now everyone will forever associate this place with disaster and give me strange looks when I say I'm going there." Essentially, I don't want my holiday destination be known as a news headline as it kind of puts a damper on the carefree time I am planning to spend there and invite bad jokes. Am I making sense? Example: the only time I actually did cancel a trip was when I had planned to travel round Japan in cherry-blossom season in 2011 and the Fukushima tsunami happened. MM and I did the same trip, copy/paste, the following year and it was great. Even a year later, some people found it very "risky" for me to travel to Japan and there were plenty of "well, let's see if you come back glowing in the dark" types of jokes. 
This does not only apply to places where bad things happened, but to so much more. I think it will take a while until anyone going on a Germanwings flight (which I did last week) won't hear comments along the lines of "Well, let's hope the pilot has a good day". *Slaps thigh* Not.
Since this annoys and saddens me so much, but it's so easy to join the banter when it's not something close to your own life, I have made a deliberate effort to not do this myself. Horrible things happen, but life goes on and you should not let a country, community or company suffer just because of one black sheep who turns it into a negative headline.


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