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It is the middle of spring so it is the perfect time to start talking about Santa Claus. A name I used to spell ‘Santa Clause’, when I was younger. Which is actually a little known statute in corporate law that dictates companies who own skyscrapers above 183m must construct helipad facilities*. Whilst on the topic of law, the real Santa Claus surely must be pulled up on his consistent inability to meet the standards of an equal opportunity employer, if not out-and-out slavery.
So that tedious link, in that paragraph, exsists to say: Santa has helpers, and I like helping. Well I say like helping, I like to think a lot about helping; how I would do it, what I would say, where I would tell them to go and where to eat.
I flew back from Scotland today, and it has been a long journey and a tiring one. My tiredness subsided though when I noticed an old couple next to me flicking through a ‘Rough Guide to Vienna’ book and a print out of the metro system.
Santa’s Little Helper Mode Engaged.
I waited patiently beside them, I turned off my music, but left the earphones in so it looked like I was still listening, when in reality I wanted to make sure I heard them when they asked for help. And they would ask for help, I mean I’d so far never spoken a word to them, so why they wouldn’t assume someone next to them also spoke english and knew the city well is anyones guess. But the important thing is; I was ready.
I’d planned it out, they were looking at some classic tourist spots and I was primed with a few ‘off the beaten track’ suggestions, directions included (bonus points). I knew they wanted to ask me, they would look over occasionally and the questions were clearly on the end of their lips, but I didn’t want to jump in all guns blazing, I’m the cool guy living in Vienna – they have to come to me. I was playing hard to get.
Long story short; they didn’t come to me.
I realised after about 30 minutes that the reason they were looking over was because I’d been staring at them for the first 30 minutes of the flight, the lady was edging away from me and began reading the guide-book like a kid at school hiding the answers to an ongoing test.
I suspect if I had gently broached the topic in the first few minutes when I noticed the map and the worried discussions about what to do at the airport, instead of playing hard to get, I probably would have been more help. Playing hard to get when you aim to disseminate information is not the strategy, and you won’t convince me otherwise.
I think it was Edison who once said* that he had not failed 10,000 times but successfully found 10,000 ways something won’t work. Well, there’s a long way to go on my Santa’s Little Helper journey but I have managed to find 1 way it won’t work. 9,999 times to go – and to be honest, that actually seems quite attainable.
*Entirely made up.
*He actually said 700 times and he wasn’t quite so eloquent with his line, but it has morphed into this modern phrase because
no one cares about the truth anymore it sounds nice.