As if leaving Boston wasn’t hard enough emotionally and logistically, the journey to Prague was its own epic. The *plan* was to fly to Prague via Frankfurt. On landing in Frankfurt, the airport was promptly closed thanks to the volcanic ash. So, the journey took a new course.
First, collect the cat from the cargo area. Done.
Next, retrieve bags. Not done. Apparently, Lufthansa insists on the privilege of delivering your bags to your final destination. Versus releasing them on their own recognizance to you. Frankfurt felt pretty final that day when it came to air travel.
Next, secure a train ticket somehow to Prague. Done (after 2 hours). Actually, take a train to Nuremburg, then a bus to Prague.
This was last Friday. Today is Monday. Virtually nobody has crossed the Atlantic on a plane to Europe since, let alone within Europe.
All of this made me reflect on the fragility of our global – for lack of a better term – “supply chain”. We have so accelerated our pace of movement of people and goods, whether it’s for business or pleasure, that any delay is received as catastrophic. Imagine 100 years ago when the only way to cross the Atlantic was by boat. Over the course of a week.
Such episodes drive us further to rely on electronic connections in lieu of physical movement. Why ship a book when it can be printed on-demand at your local bookseller? And this connectivity concentrates the risk of depending on that same internet.
I’m not sure what do to about the risk. Only that we should always be thinking about what we rely on, whether we take it for granted, and how we would sorely miss it if not available.