Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flying High

People are always telling me about their hard lives. They really have no idea.
“Oh you know, it's so sad, but my parents just don't understand me,” one friend recently told me at lunch, while I tried hard not to yawn. My parents are frittering away my inheritance playing Black Jack in the south of France, I wanted to tell him. Get over it, I should have said, and while you're at it, you might want to rethink those multiple nose piercings; it’s no wonder your parents can’t look you in the eye. Instead, I told him that it was tough not being understood for your individuality. I'm just that kind of friend.
“Do you think I should get Botox?” said another friend who was worried that her husband was maybe having an affair with his secretary. The thought bubble floating over my head said she might want to start by Botoxing her sharp tongue and then maybe he'd come home more regularly for dinners. Instead, I told her that she might maybe want to think about yoga. Again, I'm just that kind of friend.
What people don't seem to realise that their problems are like butt pimples. They may be painful, but they go away after a while. In the general scheme of things, they are no big deal. Your mother problems, your job dilemma, your financial woes and your waistline bulge...don't waste my time. I have bigger fish to fry.
Like travelling economy class with my two flatmates, Saffy and Amanda. You thought sitting next to the baby was bad.
“I am very uncomfortable,' Saffy groused. Normally, you'd expect that statement from someone who was actually sitting down. Instead, Saffy was trudging down the aisle of the plane, her luggage pulled reluctantly behind her, her fabulous bosom pushed forward even more reluctantly before her.
From behind, a waft of Chanel No. 5 hit me like a dying mother reproaching her son for not coming to see her more often. “Remind me again why I'm in this part of the plane?” Amanda grumbled.
“Because I wanted to stay home and watch bootleg DVDs of Project Runway, while you two wanted to go to New York. Which wouldn't have been so bad,” I added as I waited patiently for the fat auntie in front of me try to decide how to stuff two large suitcases into the overhead compartment, “seeing as for the first time in recorded history, my mother said she'd be willing to fund me a business class ticket, but then Saffy decided otherwise just by showing us her latest bank statement.”
Saffy’s glacial pace came to a grinding halt. Her head whipped around. “Listen!” she snapped, her fabled breasts rising to the occasion. 'For the millionth time, I am not forking over $15,000 just so I can lie flat!'
I was astonished. “You say that like it's a bad thing!”
“I don't understand how people sit back here,' Amanda said when she was finally seated. She rubbed down all the surfaces of her chair and remote control with Dettol wipes. “Just twenty feet away, people are drinking champagne!”
“Which is what my parents are doing right now too,” I muttered. “Drinking away my inheritance. Seriously, that business class cabin was my last chance at the good life.”
“Oh, God, are we there yet?” Saffy moaned to the passing air stewardess.
“Ma'am, we're still on the ground.”
“Oh, God.”
And as I write this, we're into Hour 4 of our twenty four hour journey to New York. It's not been without its little dramas, including a particularly tense moment somewhere over Chiang Mai when Saffy suddenly wondered aloud if anyone had remembered to turn off the gas in the kitchen. By the time everyone had calmed down, Amanda summoned the air stewardess, handed her a Platinum Amex and said, “Move me into First Class. This very instant. Because if you don't, the last words on the black box voice recorder will be 'I'm going to kill her!'
It's incredible how fast people move when confronted with a large amount of money. Within seconds, a grovelling steward materialised and practically air-lifted Amanda into the front of the plane. She never so much as looked back.
“It's so not fair!” Saffy grumbled. “Just because she's a lawyer and earns more than the GDP of a small African nation is no reason for her to abandon her two closest friends! This is turning out to be the worse holiday of my life.”
And, of course, right on cue, the baby in row 26F started to cry.