Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Arrived ...


The only encounter worth noting was with a woman who was sitting in my seat when I emplaned. I said, 'You're sitting in my seat -- ' and she said, 'What?!!' in the tone of someone who has just been told her credit card has maxxed out. I repeated my remark, whereupon she said, 'I'm sorry, I've been in this seat since Bombay. Just check the number --' meaning the graphic under the overhead baggage-rack door -- 'You'll see you're wrong.'

I am normally mild-mannered to a fault. But when someone attempts to relieve me of' my own true seat on an aircraft (or bus or train), I morph into a Klingon. It's not something I can control. I glanced at the graphic (just to be sure) and said, in a voice full of rusty nails, 'I'm sorry, my seat is 80K, and that's the one YOU'RE sitting in!' Just then, the man in the seat in front of ours popped up, having apparently had dealings with the woman before and said, 'What's the problem? -- oh! That's right -- you ARE sitting in the wrong seat!' after checking the graphic. The woman, who had till then been wrapped like a mummy, in an airline blanket, threw a fuming glance in my direction, but struggled to her feet and gave up her seat.

Whenever possible, I choose the last seats at the end of the Economy section -- usually, these are a pair of seats instead of three, and they afford just a teeny bit more space on the window side, just perfect for dumping one's gear. I hate leaving my carry-on luggage in the overhead locker because then it's virtually inaccessible to me, since I also hate moving around at all once I am strapped into place. Anyway, once I had my own true seat, there really was nothing more to fret about for the entire journey. We didn't even have to deplane at London. There was a 90-minute halt and then off we went again, with a new crew.

About Air India ... I want to be loyal but a blog ain't a blog if it isn't honest. So: it was better than it used to be, but not as good as, for instance, BA or Lufthansa. It's the technology for one thing -- BA has seats which practically cuddle the passenger, even in Economy. And every seat back has a tiny video screen embedded in it, so the passenger can choose to watch which ever channel he/she wishes. AI had one main screen and then a couple of smaller ones, dangling in the distance. I would have had to have had the vision of a hawk to watch a movie. Anyway, none of the movies were the kind I'd want to watch, so it didn't matter.

And there were SO many children! It was like a junior-travellers' special. Ever since I saw a Gary Larson cartoon showing an ant-mom, driving a car which had 'CAUTION: GRUBS ON BOARD' (I don't remember the exact wording) I've been unable to see small children without thinking, 'Grub!' Well, the flight was filled with grubs to bursting point. I wondered if a Cathay Pacific flight would be similar -- populous nations on the move, the future incarnated in the form of small, restless creatures with loud, cranky voices and leaky bladders.

Kennedy Airport was looking GOOD. The welcome graphics lining the corridor were very cool -- lighted panels of about four foot square, optical 3D, which looked initially as if they were X-ray views of the interior of suitcases, but as one moved through the corridor, they changed into real objects, including people, possessions, places. Further down, there was a corridor with windows on the left hand side, and on the right, larger-than-life white curtains, made out of perhaps plaster-of-Paris, perhaps ten pairs of curtains shown in various states of disarray, as if stirred by a powerful breeze, then frozen into place. If I were a conscientious art-critic, I would have noted the names of the artists who created these pieces -- but as I am not a critic at all, I hurried on without checking, but I did send out a general pulse of good-will towards the airport designers who put in the art-work.

These bulletins are NOT going to be detailed accounts of all my activities, so -- I'm stopping here.


Opus said...

Welcome to all trans-planetary travelers. Please excuse the mess as we are having our airwaves whitewashed with political sputum.
Thank you for forcing me to Merriam-Webster to look up ‘emplane’. I have to wonder, however, if the use of an intransitive verb is proper usage for air travel.
Also, did you know that if you enter www.meriamwebster.com you still get to the correct web site? Those clever folks (what’s the name of those people who write dictionaries?) at Merriam-Webster anticipated bad spellers.
Always carry a towel with you.

Amrobilia said...

Njoi Amerika dahling...

Marginalien said...

Thanks for the reminder, Opus -- yes, I DO always carry a towel with me. May the Force be with you too. (mixing me sagas, Oi know, but wottheheck)

As for emplane -- I didn't realize it was a real word! I was looking for a counterpart to 'embark' and reasoned that 'bark' referred to a ship and therefore 'emplane' should mean a similar activity involving an aircraft. Didn't mean to be intransitive ...

And thank you too Ambrosial for your good wishes! I AM njoing the Big Pomegranate (I am told that the Biblical apple was only ever an 'apple' -- i.e., there is no evidence that the fruit of the tree of knowledge was what we would recognize today as an actual apple. I believe this leaves me free to refer to NYC by the name of whatever fruit I wish, so long as I don't try to impose my views on others. We like to be fair and liberal, after all), thanx. Before this I've only ever spent a night or two in Manhattan, and though that was better than nothing, I didn't have the leisure to stop and look and listen to the city around me.