Monday, December 22, 2008

i now have a brogue...

As were checking in at SFO, pushing our way past the peons in the "Economy" check-in line, I noted that ahead of us in the "Winner" line was a lone woman apparently in charge of 3 children all of whom were strapped to car seats and placed inconveniently on the floor of the San Francisco International Airport. As if that weren't enough, she must of been in possession of, hand to God, 20 or so suitcases and boxes, all of which were piled on some sort of trolley and being handled by a very patient percer. (Do we still call them percers? I'd hate to use an inappropriate term for the help.) All of her documents were in a forward facing fanny pack and she wore a straw hat, which we all know is the international symbol for "I'm on vacation."
My greatest concern, other than being desperate for an explanation of this spectacle, was the obvious. Would they be seated near us?
My love affair with upgrading mirrors my father's love affair with collecting frequent flier miles. He paid for both my college education and my rehab with his milage plus card soley for the purpose of collecting said miles. Anyone who's breached that glorious curtain separating those that survived the Titanic and those that perished knows they can never go back. Flying coach after flying anything else is like getting evicted from your mansion and watching other people move in. Whenever I'm forced to do the walk of shame to steerage, past pre-seated smug-looking lucky bastards, I can hardly blame them for looking up at me struggling with my carry-ons on my way to the back of the us. Yes, I want to say. I know how to give that look too.
Alas, those precious miles my parents work so hard to maximize are wisely used only for long flights, because unless someone else is footing the bill, we can suffer a maximum of 4 hours in coach. After a rather difficult red-eye from England to South Africa with the 4 of us huge Americans seated in the middle row of the back section of a 747, a silent pact was made.
Never again.
Upgrading for us means Business Class, archaically named for the traveller who's company wanted them to travel in more comfort than your average flier without overindulging, what with live entertainment and flaming baked Alaskas in First Class. Turns out, businesspeople don't fly Business Class. Cheap people with frequent flier miles fly Business Class. Like us.
Which brings me back to Straw Hat Fanny Pack and her school of spawn. Could they be onto our scheme of abusing the frequent flier system to it's absolute limits? Could, God forbid, this brood be seated amongst us and our glasses made out of actual glass? As far as I'm concerned, children should be sedated like dogs and kept with the luggage instead of taking up a seat, much less a leather one. So you can imagine my relief to find Straw Hat Fanny Pack et al march their non-exceptional asses back to coach. I don't know how she finegled getting in our winner line, but that was neither here nor there. I'm seated with my warm nuts and laptop, tossing out my smug look I've been practicing all year.
Naturally, once we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign went off and we were free to move about the cabin. No sooner had I removed my shoes and applied my complimentary slippers than Straw Hat Fanny Pack came confidently walking down the aisle and into the Business Class restroom.
I was silently hysterical.
As far as I'm concerned, someone from coach using a Business Class bathroom counts as a breach of security. Excuse me, you in the straw hat even though it's nighttime and raining. Shouldn't you be back there having no choice in what movie you all watch together whilst savoring a cold, tasteless rectangle of cheese? I looked around for an equally appalled upgraded face. Nope. No one cared. 
Can I be the only horrible snob headed for hell on this plane? Where my gays at?!?
This is the curse of frequent flier miles. The glamor and mystery of poured champagne at 35000 feet is gone. Anyone can upgrade if they fly around enough, make a couple of big purchases on credit or perhaps, have a drunk for a daughter. We're all in sweat pants and iPods, my father the only one keeping the dream alive in his sport coat and sleep mask. But everyone else? My god, they don't even care if someone breaks into our bathroom and purloins some of our United Airlines scented hand lotion.
My mother of course, monitored the situation.
"You see that woman in the straw hat?"
"Yeah, mom. She was the one..."
"With all the luggage and children. Alone! Well, get a load of this...her husband is in First Class!"
What!?! "What!?!"
"I eavesdropped on her conversation with the stewardess."
"Flight attendant."
"Whatever. Can you believe that!?! All those kids and baggage? My god, the flies first class and his whole family's in coach!"
"Merry Christmas, asshole."
My mother was outraged in sisterly solidarity. I was outraged this poor women couldn't tell her husband what's what and as a result, was using our restroom.
We're now in Dublin, Alex and I wide awake at 5am. This morning, we're taking the train to Cork, where we'll "hire" 2 cars and head out to an old farmhouse in Bantry Bay for Christmas, far away from civilization and somehow closer to Jesus. My uncle Bill has joined us from Savannah and apparently, we'll spend the next week roaming the moors in Wellies and raincoats, throwing more peat on the fire and helping my father acquire the one thing he wants for Christmas; a goose. Quite frankly, I'd like a cocktail and a manicure, but I'm guessing both of those are out of the question.
As luck would have it, I brought my Flip video for the sole purpose of recording incredibly boring videos much like the following...


seany said...

Purser is really a male flight attendant. The guy who schlepps the luggage at the airport is called the skycap. :)

sflovestory said...

The Life and Times of Straw Hat Fanny Pack. So sad. So true. I'm with ya.

Anonymous said...


seany said...

Oh, and don't call them fanny packs in the UK or Ireland. Fanny means something else in those countries (they're called bum bags over there.) Happy holidays, Spots!