Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On my way to London

Well, technically I am in London as I write. But Melissa, Amy, and I are having lots of fun, so of course I've no time to write about it! But here's what I wrote on the plane over:

I have somehow won the airplane lottery by having two seats to myself on my united flight from san Francisco to London. I have seen the other passengers staring in envy—one man was talking loudly on the phone to a friend before takeoff saying that if he had known the shamefully large difference between business class and economy he would have upgraded—which they offer you at self-check in--and I have debated offering to switch out with him and his seatmate. And, after pondering the logistics of such a move, I have decided against it. it would seem to condescending, especially when there are a bunch of empty reclining seats a mere five rows ahead of us.

I've never seen an airline separate its passengers so overtly by class. Not only do they ask you if you want to upgrade at self-check-in, and then force you to walk through business class—waiting to pass by the flight attendants handing the business class passengers their complimentary pre-flight beverages--to get to economy, but then at the start of the flight they actually say "if you’ve seen our econoclass offerings and are interested in upgrading in the future, as one of our flight attendants for details." Then they announce the variety of beverages they have available and kindly make a point of saying that these are complimentary for first and business class but that economy class will be charged such and such…however, cheerfully, all shitty beverages—the barebones of the pepsi product line--are complimentary for all of their passengers, even the sad ones in the back. Singapore airlines it's not. It's enough to make a girl a Marxist, really. I feel mildly indignant for all of us. We should rise up and storm the upper classes! I say this from the comfort of my two seats with the arm rest that won't go up all the way, yet still allows me to stretch out my sad short legs more than the despondent members of the 5-across middle row.

My male flight attendant has been repeating animatedly that he smells mai tais. I have offered up that it's probably someone's duty free perfume. This is a brilliant suggestion, received with approval by all. What I do not announce is that it is most likely my duty free perfume that smells like mai tais. I made my compulsory run through duty free—moisturizing and antiaging my face pre-flight and trying on expensive perfume. All I have to say is that when you are in the vicinity of free samples of 90 dollar eye cream that you will never buy, you just have to try it. It feels like stealing, only better because it isn't. they put it out there.

The stereotypically attractive dark-haired white man across the aisle has a seat open next to him. He cant really utilize it because of the Chinese man wearing a beanie two seats over who also has claim to it, I suppose. Hotman pulled out a book on divorce. That's tragic. That empty seat was probably supposed to be full of someone he loves. I'd tell him that he is more than welcome to love me if he wishes, but I suppose that would be a bit tasteless.

I would also like to announce that SFO has one of the saddest international terminals ever—after I passed into the realm of the international terminal there wasn’t even a convenience store at which to buy some sudoku. Criminal. And, at the risk of sounding like someone who engineered united's class separation policy—and shameless hawking of the better life in the front of the plane—would it hurt for them to put in a Starbucks? The only random café servicing this group of cattle was a mini il fornaio, which is at the end of the concourse, dimly lit, and operated by one non-native English speaker. Very bizarre. But replete as it was with an incredible chocolate bundt cake and an espresso stand, I patroned it.

United Airlines has a spinoff airline it calls Ted—I believe it is their answer to economy shuttles like jetblue and southwest. Someone was obviously not aware that schoolchildren of a certain age (mine) referred, in a shameful and un-PC manner, to retarTed kids as Teds. I'm not saying that it isn't terrible and that the name and word "ted" should be monopolized by adolescent cruelty, and at the same time I suggest that they could have found a better name for the carrier of the hoi polloi. Like, Unite! As in workers of the world, Unite! Or Uni. Or Nite, Or Ite, or how about anything that doesn't sound as squishy as Ted. Who do you think of when you think of someone named Ted—Theodore, as it were…hmmm. This is not my fight. I will simply start an airline called Kickass! Hi, I'm flying Kickass! Airlines.

We've just been asked to please pull down our window shades. And the seatbelt sign has come on. While I believe that the general explanation is that we want to preserve darkness inside whilst outside our plane chases daylight, I sometimes like to think that we are suddenly flying through some kind of unimaginable maelstrom with cats and umbrellas and scarves and mary poppins all blustering around, and only select people like pilots are in on the secret.


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