Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hiding In Plane Sight

The second I go off the grid, several new holes erupt in civilization's creaky, buckled hull. A delusional white supremacist single-handedly shell-shocks Norway; England explodes; and Malawi - my parents' current place of residence - takes a big, bloody stride towards becoming yet another penny-ante despotism. And to think my greatest personal concern for the past three weeks has been a single sickly bat fluttering about the rafters of a drafty cabin in rural Nova Scotia.

I'm going to have to work overtime upon my return to Tokyo to tap out appropriate responses to all of the above (not to mention my recent take-down of John Maus has unexpected renewed relevance and could benefit from further examination). For now, though, it's 1:14am in Vancouver and my wife is pleading with me to turn out the lights, so I'll leave you with an ornery screed I sent a friend from within the grey bowels of the San Francisco airport...

Well, instead of an 8-hour layover in your fair local airport, our inbound flight was 3 hours late and consequently we're stuck in the terminal without any open amenities or services and - because this is fucking California - nowhere to smoke. Fer chrissakes, if I could either smoke or get a cup of coffee, I wouldn't be one wry comment away from a Chris Benoit-class air-rage episode.

At least there's free wi-fi, so I thought I'd wax insomniac a bit about the flight into San Francisco tonight. Good god, it was sold-out economy cabin of living clichés. You'd couldn't have written a harder-stereotyped cross-section of the Bay Area populace. Towards the front of the cabin was a twentysomething black dude reppin' Oakland a bit too hard; also, the long-suffering wife of some Silicon Valley luminary was struggling to corral a newborn & a vaguely bratty toddler. (How do I know she was married to a tech-head? Who else would put an iPod on her infant, an iPad in the hands of a 4-year-old, and not stop talking ever on her fucking iPhone?) In front of me where two late-'30s first-time parents percolating with excessive pride in their bulge-eyed free-range baby which made disturbingly animalistic noises and was mostly charming until he shat himself with an hour left in the flight.

I was sat next to a young Russian blonde who was reading a book titled Why Should Anyone Be Led By You? and, despite being on the chapter about "Managing Social Distance", totally blanked me the whole flight. She had a mole like an anti-melanoma PSA behind her right shoulder. Two rows behind were a couple who weren't really a couple, having just met each other in the departure lounge, and broadcast the arc of their burgeoning flirt-friendship in loud, smug conversation. She actually hissed at the TV screens during the welcome message from United's new CEO, before going on at length about (despite "not really being into nationalism") responsibly representing her country & her gender during her Peace Corps stint in southern Ghana. He reciprocated with anecdotes of his time in Beijing. He was wearing these glasses. By the time the plane had landed, the two had moved on to lovingly (if critically) describing their parents and talking about their "really, like, totally healthy" relationship with their mother's French lesbian partner.

Currently sat amongst a planeful of furious passengers awaiting their connection to Dallas-Ft. Worth. I'm going in search of coffee somewhere in this Dantean mezzanine.


JM said...

I'm sorry about your parents,I hope they're okay.
Also, your favorite guy has something to say about British looters
I've been debating his type for most of the week; I can see why the riots broke out, but currently, it seems to have turned into constant opportunism. Moreover, the anarchists are the ones objecting to the destruction of small businesses. What do you think?

Jeffrey said...

". . . and was mostly charming until he shat himself with an hour left in the flight."

I thought you were supposed to do this in economy on long haul flights?

Thirty years ago when I first began flying between the West Coast and Japan, I actually enjoyed the experience. It was a bit long to be confined regardless of where one sat, but even coach in those days was moderately comfortable, booze was free and they still tried with the food.

Great piece.