Thursday, January 22, 2009

The.Flight.

The Rich Couple & The Friendly Traveler:
Now the title I’ve given them may sound a bit egregious but, they were actually very sweet and approachable. Older, probably in their sixties, one with graying red hair, the other totally grey and wispy. I noticed that they were placed on the stand-by list two ranks above me. I was sad about this, but I will still number 7 on the list, still hopeful. I think people in an airport, at the same gate, wanting the same thing must develop an automatic sense of camaraderie. I don’t mind this. Although I was not necessarily in the mood to talk, I think I needed to- my stomach was beginning to turn.
“How long have you been waiting,” she politely asks me, a warm smile. I can tell she is someone’s wonderful grandmother.
“I have been waiting for a little over two hours. They are saying they don’t know if they can fit us all due to a weight and balance problem on the plane.” I volunteer the stand-by list I was given, and they smile. Since they have worked for the airline company since 2000, they are bumped above 3 other people on the list, including me.
“This was last minute for us. We just got put on the list. We were trying to go to Tokyo, but the plane was too full.”
I noticed that although they are not dressed in flashy clothing or gaudy jewelry, they are rich. One can just tell. Not “Hilton” rich, but wealthy enough. The husband is one of those men that doesn’t wear his sense of entitlement without proper merit. He has worked for the finer things in his life, he has possibly reached the top of his game, and now he and his wife are enjoying the fruits of their labour.
“Oh,” I say, “my mother works for the airline, and she tells me they have 12 seats open. We should all be able to fit.” I say this more to reassure myself than to reassure them. They will be fine. This juncture also happens to be where the friendly traveler makes his appearance.
“The amount of seats doesn’t really matter, it’s an issue of balancing the plane’s weight, but I hope we can all get on.” I turn around, not only to see who has decided to throw in their $.10, but also to see who this person is with the oddly kind voice. When I do, I see dusty blonde hair, glasses, and, as expected, a very kind face. One could tell from his demeanor, even his posture that he “would not hurt a fly.” I instantly liked him, not in the flirtatious sense, but in the way one is attracted to people that exude such a pleasant spirit like he did.
“Yea, I keep forgetting that. I still hope we can all make it on.” I am nervous again; then I noticed that the CSR has called the top name on the list. We all wait to see who approaches the counter, but no one does. We all smile at each other, knowing that none of us is too upset over his missing the flight. I know I know, this sounds mean, but you must understand the disparity we all shared too board this plane.
The kind traveler smiles at me. Little did I know that he would prove to be a wonderful asset to me when I arrived at the Korean airport.
After much anticipation, we all board the flight with weary smiles.
I got seated in 4F, business class. It was spacious to say the least. I hadn’t made it to my seat, before they took my trench coat and hung it next to the other “important” coats. The leather was soft. The seat reclined in so many different combinations that all pointed to the same goal- relaxation.
There was a television set up with all my favorite HBO shows available for viewing and also several movies (The Dark Knight and Baby Mama among them). I was giddy with confusion, as I could not decide whether to watch Sex and The City or read about the Husband and His Sweethearts or just vibe to my iPod.
Although I’m a very classy woman, this was my first time in business class on an international flight. When the first meal was served, I had no clue which knife to use, or which fork. Fortunately, I am one of those women that is always blessed enough to be surrounded by someone intelligent and kind. The man next to me boarded with his wife and son. His wife was Thai and he was Caucasian. He helped me pull out the television screen when I had no clue where the button was. He helped me figure out how to turn the light on and off with his soft spoken directions. He would notice me struggling through my eyes, not my gestures, and simply do it for me. I looked to him to see which knife to use for what food. That man will never know what it meant to me for him to be next to me for the flight. He will never know the embarrassment he spared, the social knowledge he instilled…
As for the food, all I can say is this: Not all cocktail sauces are created equally, and the one on the plane was simply delectable. As were all of the served meals. The dessert was not spectacular at all, just ice cream with chocolate sauce.

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