Yes, economy is a bit wretched. But then we are in a metal tube. I really do enjoy watching people try and force their belongings into the overheads. I also find it quite interesting observing human behavior. I think people exhibit more patience while on a commercial airline flight than anywhere else in the world.
The Exit Door Seat
Candace informs me that when sitting next to the emergency exit door of an Airbus 319, if there is an emergency and the cabin has to be evacuated, before any of that can happen, someone has to walk out onto the wing and attach a rope to that fixture you see in the lower left. "Who does that?", I ask her. "The passenger sitting closest to the door of course."
"No one said I'd have to walk out onto the wing when I was asked if I would help with evacuation. So if we have to ditch in the Atlantic, before anyone can get out of this door, I have to walk onto the wing and attach a rope to that thing out there. And Why is it so far from the door? What happens if I slip and fall off the wing into the water and drown?"
"We'd tell the guy in seat next to you to give it a try."
"I don't suppose a Flight Attendant would consider doing that?"
"Of course not, after a plane crashes, the Flight Attendant is the most important person on the plane."
"Not the pilot?"
"You think they're going to be able to help everyone get out of the aircraft? If the Flight Attendants die, then everyone dies."I don't quite believe that logic because I think that if the plane ditches in the ocean, the passengers are going to find a way off that plane if the Flight Attendants cannot maintain order; in fact, I think you'd see quite the reversal from extreme politeness and cooperation to Lord of the Flies every Man for himself. Life and Death situations bring out the beast in us.
Note the distance I'd have to walk to attach the
rope? Are Airbus engineers sadists? I don't even
get it ... why a rope? This is a Jet Airliner, not
a Sailing Ship
When we arrive in Chicago, night has fallen. The view out the window, even if I have to scale the wing, is worth that effort. To see our world from above is really something not to be taken for granted; and yet, how many of the windows are closed. How many of the people down there have stopped looking up. With all of our scientific and technological marvels, we really still have the mentality of our ancestors, but economy is not the realm of philosophy. It's too cramped. If One should read philosophy at 31,000 feet, then a glass of fine wine with feet up in the air is in order. Although, I'd point out that if Refugio was traveling with me, we'd be fine in Economy. We'd have drinks and we'd discuss the world. Refugio would likely be buying everyone around us drinks (does anyone ever do this on the plane?) and he be yelling in his best Che Gueverra, "we only live once! Come on Man! Let's celebrate Life!" And we'd all raise our plastic glasses high. "To the revolution!", he'd proclaim. And of course, someone would say, "Are you communists over there? Are communists buying me drinks?"
"Communists?" Refugio would look at me. "I am not a communist", he would say, "I believe in the revolution of the mind" ... and the intensity in his face would increase a few notches, "of the MIND!"
But I am not traveling with Kuko (as those who know Refugio affectionately call him. I am with Candace.
And if I am with Candace, that means I might get bumped into First Class. Seriously, there is no finer way to travel than to travel First Class in a Boeing Triple 7 across the Atlantic.
If I shared the the menu with you, would that just be too much? Candace enjoyed her Duck
with a very nice Reisling to start and then switched (at my urging) to the French Burgundy.
She did this while watching a movie.
I, on the other hand, left my video screen on the navigation mode so that I could track our progress across the Atlantic, and settled into what would become a three day relationship with Umberto Eco, the Italian Philosopher with the oversized ego and matching vocabulary to prove it. His words are, for the most part, poignant; however, he has a tendency to get lost in his own sentence structure. I enjoy this immensely, and find the exercise very productive on the aircraft ... you see, I am somewhat restricted in my behaviors. It is a precondition for being allowed to sit up here in First Class. There is a Dress Code and there is an unspoken Code of tolerable behavior. As much as I want to yell and scream at some of the atrocities that Eco commits to paper, I cannot. I am afterall a guest of United Airlines. So, with red ink in hand, I underline, I scratch and I scribble comments and notations all over his book. I have half a mind to mail the book back to him. I have another smaller percentage of mind to just go to Milan and find him and give him the book. "Umberto" I would say, "Here is your book. I have mad some comments for you. Please read them and we will discuss over Barbera (yes, yes, ... d'asti). But if I am to find Umberto Eco, I must take Kuko with me. Candace would not tolerate Eco's elitist attitudes for long. She would call him on his 'shit' and we would liekly be kicked out of Italy before we had the opportunity to finish the wine.
I drink wine and eat well and then sleep. When I awake we are an hour from Munich. And I am 180 pages in Umberto. I should note at this time that we have never been to Munich before and neither of us speaks German, but should that stop anyone from traveling?
Our Boeing 777 at Munich Airport
yes, stay tuned for Part 2