The little blue line

Life has been a little overwhelming these last few weeks; I fully understand that most of it is the result of my inner demons, but it doesn’t make it easier to manage.

My stress levels have been so high that I can literally feel the blood coursing through my veins. I have no better way to explain the sensation, but needless to say, it’s unpleasant. In fact never in my life has my stress level affected my physical person like this. I have lost 4 kilos – that’s 10 pounds for the (North) Americans – I haven’t slept properly in weeks, and at one point I was on the verge of hyperventilating for like 24 straight hours.

So what did I decide to do? Well I requested a business trip, thereby increasing my stress levels even further. I wouldn’t call this the best decision I have ever made, but it is far from the worst.

I arrived in Munich about 30 minutes ahead of the colleague I was meeting. Again, in a less than brilliant fashion, I decided to sit down in the airport bar and have a glass of wine while I waited. Some might consider this a relatively good idea, but I was dehydrated, ill, and on an empty stomach.

The wine went straight into my blood stream and I spent the remainder of the evening trying to hide what a light weight I am. When my glass was finished, I stood to wait at arrivals. While I people watched, I was struck with a wave of calm, my blood pressure suddenly went down and my stress levels dropped and I stood there smiling to myself. I know what you are thinking, but it wasn’t the wine. It was the little blue line.

On the floor of the airport, in front of the arrivals gate there was a blue line painted on the ground. And get this…everyone stayed behind the line.

I was in a civil society, amongst the polite and respectful, my faith in humanity returned. In most airports I am in, the arrivals gate is protected by a solid barrier to give people enough room to fully exit the arrivals area without causing a mass pile up. Well solid barrier or not, without fail, someone(s) crosses to where they aren’t supposed to be, and the pile up ensues, causing even further delays for the poor travelers who want to be reunited with their loved ones, or tired kids who just want to sit down, but not in Munich. There is paint on the ground, so the entire population says “hey guys, look out there is a blue line on the floor, best not cross it.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that these people are mindless fools who see a blue line and get scared. What I see are people who say “I know darn well if I step over the line not a freaking thing is going to happen to me, but since I’m not an asshole and I don’t consider I’m more important than all the people around me, I will respect the blue line. ”

It was a breath of fresh air.

For the last three days, I have been overwhelmed by politeness, in the escalator everyone obediently stands on the right to allow the walkers to pass; in the streets pedestrians walk on the pedestrian part of the side walk, bikes on the bike part; in the subway, the people on the platform wait until those people getting off the train have descended before they try to push their way on; hostesses, servers, shop owners, almost everyone in the customer service industry are smiling and helpful, AND best of all, cars actually slow down and stop at cross walks…and red lights. Genius. Well done people of Munich.