People are always rabbiting on about the meaning of life.
The other day, a friend on Facebook posted an image of the Earth and the moon taken by a satellite from a long ways away – two tiny bright dots in a vast sea of black – and he said something about how insignificant we all really are. This, of course, prompted lots of soul searching by various friends of my Facebook friend.
‘Makes you realize what’s important and what’s not,’ said one friend.
‘What makes you happy?’
‘What’s the meaning of life?’ asked another. This got five ‘Likes’.
I’m just waiting for someone to ask me that question. Because I’m ready with my answer. After years of soul searching, deep navel gazing and countless episodes of Oprah re-runs, I have the answer to the meaning of life.
And it is: Business Class. With an addendum: First Class if you can get it, but if not, the meaning of life is Business Class.
This will strike many of you as incredibly shallow and meaningless, not to mention a poor reflection of the values my parents so clearly did not pass on to me. But I don’t care. If people want to suffer for the rest of their lives in Economy, it’s their karma. When I die, I want to come back as an unlimited expense account.
I want to be pampered and not suffer. That’s nothing wrong with wallowing in luxury. Nowhere in the Bible, Koran or Buddhist sutras does it say “Thou shalt avoid being pampered, for it is a sin.”
I have had enough of being squeezed into a seat designed for a four-year old kid. I want to have the option of elevating my legs to the horizontal position.
I have had enough of crappy, surly service. I want to be waited on hand and foot. I want attractive cabin crew to crouch down by my seat and enquire with false interest if I’m comfortable and if I would like another flute of champagne.
I have had enough of squinting at a tiny screen the size of a paperback novel trying to see which Transformer is clobbering Megatron. And I want to have big Princess Leia type earphones with noise-cancelling capability, and not those stupid little ear-plugs which force you to jack up the volume to maximum because you can’t hear a thing over the plane’s engines and that revolting wailing baby in 32A.
I have had enough of trying to sleep at an 85 degree angle. I want to sleep on a flat-bed with nice clean linen and a big fluffy pillow. I get to do this at home and I don’t see why I should be paying a lot of money to sleep in the upright position. If I wanted to be upright, I’d be having lunch.
And speaking of which…I have had enough of dried up chicken carcasses, stringy beef and fish that taste of cotton wool. I have also had enough of trying to cut up my meat with plastic cutlery. I want to drink from a proper glass, eat from a proper plate and not a tin foil tray. I especially want to have satay for my appetiser.
“Ay, where got satay as appetizer, one?” Sharyn asked recently after listening patiently to my rant.
“On SQ’s business class, they roll a trolley of satay down the aisle,” I said. “I know because I once went to China for work and they flew me business class and they had satay!”
“Wah, really, ah? So shiok!”
“Tell me about it,” I said grumpily.
“But you are a poor writer, how can you afford to sit Business Class?” Sharyn asked owlishly, her eyes magnified behind her half-inch thick spectacles.
“Sometimes,” I told her, “sometimes, I’m sitting at the front of the Economy section and I can smell the satay coming through those blue curtains. I can even hear the tinkle of champagne glasses. And that’s when I get served my tiny packet of peanuts and tap water in a plastic cup.”
“Oh my God, I’m so sick of that bloody satay!” said Amanda who only ever flies First or Business Class. “Why can’t they serve something else like kueh pie-tee or something?”
Saffy later said that someone needs to give Amanda a big reality check. “If she ever walked into an Economy cabin, she’d probably wonder why she was suddenly back in the airport’s boarding gate!”
Amanda says you get what you pay for. To which I say that I’ve paid enough. If all those years of suffering through Economy isn’t payment enough, I’m going to be having words with God when we meet.