First Class

2012-08-06T09:53:04-07:00Categories: politics, travel|Tags: , |

            Ah, the clink of the forks in First Class. From where I’m sitting on this plane, just three rows away, the sound is like wind chimes heard through a closed window, reminding us: we are here and not there where those pretty breezes are blowing. I’m in Economy Plus, where apparently there’s a little more legroom. I did not pay for or upgrade to this section; I think it’s a bone the airline threw me after my earlier flight was cancelled. Going through security at Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport, I noticed an express lane and signs urging me to sign up for a card that would give me the privilege of using this special lane, presumably after traveling thousands of miles or paying extra, or both. None of this is particularly new. But it feels just a little more—in your face than it used to. Pay for this card and cut in line! Pay for an Economy Plus seat so you can cross your legs! Pay Lord knows how much and eat real food with real forks! Here in Economy Plus, I’m sitting next to a blonde, sleepy teen in a hoodie whose suntanned and bejeweled mother, seated in First Class, just brought her back a chocolate sundae in a glass dish. After eating her ice cream, teen daughter popped her ear buds in and went back to sleep, leaving me to wonder about her mother, as I always do about people in First Class: what is it like to have [...]

Time outside Time

2012-07-26T08:34:33-07:00Categories: midlife, quiet, travel, Uncategorized|Tags: , |

“Wherever you’re going, we can get you there and there and there!” exulted the United Airlines on-hold record-a-voice.  Well, unfortunately, no, not on this midsummer Saturday. One packed flight from Seattle to Washington D.C. cancelled; 200-plus people, including me, suddenly stuck in airport purgatory. For half an hour, I thought a few of us were lucky: we were rebooked on a US Air flight, via Phoenix, arriving in D.C. a mere five hours after we were originally supposed to. I sprinted from one end of Sea-Tac to the other, fingers crossed. But the US Air flight was delayed four hours.  The gate clerk ordered all of us United castoffs to go back and start over. Back we went, now with no chance at all of getting a reasonable re-booking. Long story not so short—long time on hold on my cellphone; long time in line—I left SeaTac, now scheduled to leave the next afternoon. And so I had a strange, sort of secret day. No plans. No responsibilities. No one, besides my immediate family and my disappointed friend in D.C., knew I was in Seattle. I could have pulled weeds or caught up on some work. Or caught up on sleep, after a night spent tossing and worrying about waking up in time for the flight that never happened. Instead, I left a note and got on my bike. On a whim, I rode straight to a Columbia City nail shop, where the staff is friendly, the massage chairs are the tacky best and offbeat nail colors [...]

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