by Vera Grant AMMM Ireland 06.09.2022
As the euphoria of having booked my dream holiday started to fade it was replaced with a gnawing sense of anxiety. It wasn’t the holiday although trying to see three cities in three different countries in eight days was quite an undertaking, but I revelled in the success of finding the perfect trip in spite of my family’s misgivings.
Going on my own meant I would be responsible for all the essential data like the Covid Certificates and Passenger Locater forms. The latter, an arduous task, and having watched my daughter on holiday trying to complete them I feared for my lack of competence. Thankfully as the restrictions eased these were no longer required but that could all change on a whim and it kept me on ‘alert mode’.
To add to the rising level of anxiety was the chaos situation in the airports and the daily bulletins from Dublin airport filled me with horror. Jettisoned was the check- in luggage and replaced with a lightweight cabin case. The knock on effect was to deselect the favourite outfits and the pampering skin care products. The shine was certainly diminishing.
This was followed by booking the bus journey to the airport. The simple online booking no longer sufficed, a QR code had to be downloaded and presented on arrival to the driver. To reassure me a paper copy was printed and I think I was the only passenger with such outdated evidence.
Once on my way, seat buckled I sat back and felt relief for the first time that I had managed to get this far and Scandinavia beckoned.
However, the relief wasn’t to last long as the dreaded QR codes popped up everywhere. In restaurants you had to download the menu, make your choice, pay online and wait for the ping on your mobile phone. I was totally out of my comfort zone and hated always to be asking the tour guide for help. Day by day it seemed as if my adult self was being chipped away, my confidence ebbed and I felt like a child, the nuisance one, not knowing and always having to ask.
The now very familiar pattern kept repeating and it was like hitting a brick wall. The frustration and lack of control surfaced yet again, this time, in the hotel lift. The instructions said to put in your room card to activate the lift. The card was pushed in, pulled out, floor selected but nothing happened. The lift doors remained open for all the other guests to witness my discomfort.
Desperation mounted and the thought of having to drag myself and the case back to reception to ask for help was out of the question. Frantically I inserted the card and suddenly the doors closed and we moved upwards. I hadn’t a clue what I had done to make that happen but I exhaled a sigh of relief.
The same evening, I was in the lift again and had my card at the ready. There were two others in the lift and when they saw me with card in hand, they stepped back to let me start the process. In went the card, no response, a shrug of the shoulders hopefully would indicate that it was the fault of the lift and nothing to do with me. The younger person took the card from me and in one quick movement inserted and extracted the card. The doors closed and she handed the card back to me saying, ‘in, out’. I said ‘thanks’. She smiled.
The following day I stepped into the lift and there were two women of a similar age to me and they were laughing together at their futile attempts to activate the lift. I took my card and demonstrated what I had been shown the night before, in, out. The doors closed and we glided upwards. The both of them thanked me profusely and laughed at their stupidity. I smiled.
I smiled for myself too. In this ever-changing world of technology, no matter how hard I try I cannot keep up but at least I am not alone.