This column probably should have been written by Macaulay Culkin, who starred in the "Home Alone" series of films. He knows better than anyone else what happens to parents with many children when they arrive at an airport. But since it's hard to locate him (of course), it can only be said that once again truth is stranger than fiction.
The easiest and most natural thing is to raise a hue and cry against the parents who left their 4-year-old daughter to her fate at Ben-Gurion International Airport as they relaxed on their flight to Paris. But if we stretch out for a moment on a chair at the office, at home or in the row 31 window seat there is a chance, even if small, that we will conclude that the victims in this story are actually the parents.
For the sake of discussion let's work in the format of the "Seconds from Disaster" series on the National Geographic Channel, where they reconstruct the events that led to dire circumstances, which sometimes ended miraculously. The data on the family indicates real distress: two parents, five children and 18 suitcases. That the parents were in a bad position is clear. It's possible that one of them was in charge of the suitcases and the other was in charge of the children; it's possible that a hopeless attempt was made to divide everything up equally. Be that as it may, there were too few pairs eyes and hands here for too many items.
The late arrival for check-in and the time it took for passport control, which of course is more exhausting than usual during these crazy days, and the number of times documents need to be stamped, make arriving at the duty-free shops equivalent to arriving in paradise. If we suppose that we have here two typical parents who smoke, drink, eat and perfume themselves, the chances are negligible that they'll be indifferent to the possibility of stocking up for hard times at bargain prices. Three perfumes for the price of four, one box of chocolate for the price of six, two packets for the price of three, and in a last-minute bargain five bottles of fine whiskey for the price of only one and a half. How many children did you say you have?
The crowding in the duty-free shops requires an action plan if you want to achieve the real aim: to board the plane provisioned, and on time. It's vital to split up, vital. It's well known that children get addicted to unconsidered temptations and also interfere with maneuverability. The little one is trailing behind and examining every toy, but she'll catch up on the way to the cash register. Stands to reason, no?
Now time is pressing and concentration must be at its peak. You have to count the number of products, ensure that the special deal is rung up correctly so you don't come out a sucker, decide whether to pay in shekels, euros or dollars, decide whether to leave the items in Israel or drag them onto the flight, remain indifferent and look cool even though the public-address system is again warning that this is the last call for the flight to Paris. And you have to avoid your spouse's gaze so you can say during the flight that you didn't buy anything because everything is available in Israel. Even a 4-year-old girl.
One thing is certain: This would not have happened to the Bnei Sakhnin soccer players. They would have left nothing behind.
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