Friday, 4 September 2009

So I...

...went to Italy for the late summer bank holiday to see my friends and family. BA is the only company to provide commuter friendly flights and since it was also a bank holiday weekend the tickets were a bit pricey. I had no other option so I booked them. When I checked in online I was annoyed to find I was sitting at the very front of the plane, row 3. It bothered me because in my irrational frightened mind the two ends are the ones that move the most upwards and downwards, while the middle stays nice and still. A bit like when you hold a pencil between your thumb and middle finger and make it oscillate, the middle bit stays still while the ends sway like crazy. It probably does not apply to planes really, but in my heart it does, so I was upset. It wasn’t until after the three course meal in crystal glasses and real metal cutlery that I realized that I was sitting in first class. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure of it until I asked the steward. So that was why I was sitting at the front of the plane for that flight! I should know from now on. What gave it away, though, was not the extra leg room - if you have met me you know I am perfectly comfortable with what ryanair offers in that aspect - or the fine bone china, or the metal knives (terrorists don’t fly first class, obviously); what gave it away was A: niceness and B: gold. The stewards and stewardesses checked our seatbelts were fastened ever so gently, then made sure we had just enough pinot and champagne, and always spoke to us in the sweetest voices before opening the little curtain and moving on to the rest of the plane barking orders and kicking people’s bags out of the way with deliberate nastiness. But the gold! Oh, the wonders one can only behold in first class! The women in first class might have been similar in shape and form to me but their every inch was covered in neon signs screaming MONEY. Peeping through the curtain I could see sensible grey and black jumpers and blue jeans, but next to me there was a peacock display of crimson silks and emerald green taffeta, silver leather handbags the size of parachutes (maybe the first class ladies are smarter than they seem), with solid gold lockets and chains and charms dingling at their every (bloody) move, hair blown to perfection in the softest, most precise careless waves, tans the shade of terracotta, heels that could puncture the plane floor and kill us all, and a tiny bolero cape made of cow foetus skin – charming. Needless to say they looked at me, my cheapskates-class grey top and jeans combo, my unmade-up face, and the sad, battered remains of the guardian weekend ‘Summer short story special’ magazine with disgust and contempt. What was I doing there? Why was I allowed the same niceness and salmon ni├žoise? Why the unneeded yet clearly undeserved extra leg room? I smiled at them politely and stuffed the unfinished miniature wine bottle in my bag before the same steward who had just thrown the horrid BA sarnies (which I kind of love) onto the inferior laps of the crappy-class passengers asked me in the sweetest voice if I was finished with the tray and if he could offer me any more olive bread or mango pavlova. I am not sure I need first class, I most certainly wouldn’t buy first class tickets deliberately, but it did feel good to be the only person there not burdened with their weight in gold and dead foetus’ skin; it made me feel good about myself and my bottom-of-career-ladder situation. And finally, it made me feel good about having to come up with more inventive ideas than a credit card to fund this magazine. I just hope those wee Nutshells out there are having a better time than my guardian supplement.


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