Upgrade to Biz

6A, a window seat, on DELTA flight 104 is more technologically advanced than my laptop and any car I have ever owned. The control panel alone sends me into a neolithic shame spiral.

Before I can sit, I am offered a choice – champagne or orange juice. The decision is made with disturbing ease.

My aisle-bound cohort could be Hagrid’s stunt double in the Harry Potter films. I tell him I’m a nervous flyer and he laughs and waves over an attendant. Hagrid explains my predicament and I am embarrassed by the fuss. He can tell that I am a rookie. She comes back with a rocks glass of Irish whiskey. I am prancing towards intoxication and we have not yet left the ground.

Oh my God, I think as I sip (gulp) down the whiskey, welcome to the big leagues.

Even now, as I recall the words I heard ten minutes before that whiskey – Mr. Galeone, you have been upgraded to business class – I blush as though I’m being handed an honorary doctorate by a porn actress. When the woman at Gate B9 handed me the ticket and said, “Enjoy your flight,” her simple pleasantry was oozing with, “Good friggin’ luck, rookie. You’re in the big times now.” She sent me to an Amazonian woman who checked my ticket and playfully giggled at me and pointed me to a ‘special door.’

“You can go right over there, sir.” She touched my shoulder.

When the Amazon flirts with me, I begin to comprehend the full power of the business class ticket. I am seven inches shorter than her and it’s clear that if we engaged in hand to hand combat, she would force-feed me my own toes.

I feel buzzed, which is then enhanced by the absolute friendliness and submissiveness of the flight attendant who has the same carefree relationship with hot towels and alcoholic drinks as monkeys at the zoo have with their poop. Moreover, there is a famous actor sitting three seats over. E.L is being slightly harrassed by a few people passing through to economy. Nobody from business class is bothering him; they don’t even notice him.

In a moment of clarity, it dawns on me that I have been plucked from the economy masses like an abcessed molar and I am resolved to prove my belonging by ignoring the actor. I am determined to fit into this league of extraordinary travellers in every way.

My determination is sound and my resolve is strong…until I have four more (free) pre-dinner cocktails.

Every aspect of the meal service overwhelms me. To start with, it has something called an ‘appetizer’ and everything is served on plates and in glasses. There are cocktails before dinner and wine during dinner. The flight attendants discuss the finer points of the wine they’re serving and Irish literature. Ice cream sundays come after dinner with warm brandy in snifters.

For the first time in my life, I want a plane ride to last forever.

The wheels start to come off when the cabin lights go out and the attendant moves my TV into position and covers me with a blanket. She gives me a crash course in the control panel but it is diluted by the Bloody Marys, wine and Jamesons. I swear she pointed out a parachute, but the gist is lost in my euphoria.

There are more choices for physical positioning than in an expert yoga class. Every press of a button spurs a contortionist-like event. I think I licked one of my feet. Everyone (easily) sets their seats to ‘bed’ and goes to sleep. The attendant no doubt hears the choked buzzing and whirring at 6A, along with my simian grunts and comes to set my seat to ‘bed.’

I sleep the sleep of the pampered until I have to go to the bathroom. Hagrid is stretched out to his full eleven feet and since he has reached the REM sleep stage of a corpse I am trying to figure out some way over him. I spend ten minutes making my bed a seat again and stretch a leg over him. I am now straddling Hagrid and if he wakes up, there is a chance he is going to punch me into the stratosphere or marry me. Either way, it doesn’t work out for me.

I bring my leg back and hop onto my seat.

As I leap with two-feet into the aisle, Hagrid wakes up, the flight attendant comes into view and the actor E.L wakes up and stares at me. I land with a huge thud that does little to sedate my fellow business class companions. I recieved fewer disapproving looks at my one and only trial. To break the tension, I wave at E.L and smile as if we are old friends. I’m glad I didn’t say anything about his acting because E.L is actually D.M.

In the bathroom I scold myself for letting business class go to my head. I come back from the bathroom and glance through the curtains into economy and sigh.

Next flight, I’ll be in my rightful place with my people.

OK folks, how about a time you realized you were out of your league?

  1. #1 by greg on July 21, 2011 - 10:03 pm

    you did better than i would have dame. i feel out of my league occasionally simply surrounded by bipeds.

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