I've noticed that while my car moves slowly through the sprays and brushes of the local car wash, I have plenty of time to talk to the man at the cash register and look at all the car gadgets on the walls. I think they move the car slowly so I'll have plenty of time to buy little things I don't really need.
Ellis Island was the first piece of America that millions of immigrants ever touched. It is a little island in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and the point of entry for immigrants coming through New York. They would book passage for the cheapest price they could and travel way down below the decks. Finally, the boat would reach America, they would step off and enter this long, red brick building on Ellis Island. It's cavernous and echoes on the inside. They had to go through certain steps that eventually permitted them to move from the island and on to their real destination, which was New York City and the mainland. The people carried all their belongings in a basket, which was okay because they knew the island was not where they would live. Out of all those thousands who came to the island, not one ever set up a house there, because they were not going to be there very long.
During an airplane flight, there is constant communication that involves your plane. The air traffic controllers clear your pilot for takeoff, and later at another tower, they will clear him for landing. They stay in touch the whole time between the takeoff and the landing. There is more to the flight than just the beginning and the end. The pilot needs to know if there are other planes nearby or of bad weather that demands a change of plans. It's good the pilot doesn't turn off communication with the tower after he takes off.
The Mississippi River flood of 1993 was a tense time if you had a home or a business near the river in St. Louis. That flood had already done unprecedented damage upriver, and St. Louis was holding its breath. The crests on the Missouri River and the Mississippi River were starting to converge just above the city. Several years earlier, St. Louis had invested heavily in a levee. This levee was bigger than they ever thought they would need. They built it thick and 52 feet high, which is many feet above the highest flood crest in the history of the city. Who knew whether the water could get that high? The tension was mounting. The predicted crests were rising over 40 feet and toward the 50-foot mark. Then the moment of truth came. The river crested at incredibly record-high levels but stayed under 50 feet. They were very glad they had built a wall that was strong and high.
In certain situations, casual just isn't appropriate. For example, at private clubs or upscale restaurants you have to dress differently. Men will be met at the door with a "Sorry, sir, you cannot eat here. We require a jacket and tie," if they are dressed too casually. Sometimes even at weddings or special events we find that casual is out.
When the President of the United States comes to speak, it's a rare opportunity. You get there hours early because of the mass of people that will be there, and it's hard to find a place to park. Once you get in, you have to wait until he arrives. Finally, you can hear a ripple go through the crowd as they hang the presidential seal on the podium. "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States." Everybody gives him an ovation that lasts quite a while, and when the applause dies down, he begins to speak. While he speaks, nobody leaves. When you go to hear someone important, you don't just applaud and leave. You stay after the applause to hear what they have to say.