First Class to LA from NYC (Part 2)Part of: LA , NYC , Travel
(First Class Part 1. Also, click on New York under Categories to read more about my trip.)
Sweater: TSE moss green cashmere sweater
Pants: Bella Dahl brown cords
Shoes: Payless brown boots
I bought an irish cream latte at Peet’s Coffee by my gate. (I didn’t even notice the price.) People in line got bent when a European seemingly cut in line and made no apologies for it—First Class. There were two lines, but it appeared like one line was for pick-ups only, and the other line was ten people deep. The baristas had no system. They were each making drinks and taking orders. I sipped my latte and was underwhelmed.
I‘d been sitting next to some Jewish teenage boys who’d been in NYC for some kind of holiday camp. One complained that all they’d eaten was junk food, and he was dying for a salad. He settled for trail mix. He also complained about how long they’d been waiting.
I’m sick of everyone trying to tell me how I have to get to the airport hours in advance. I took the Super Shuttle to the airport (only 20 bucks including tip) and the dispatcher was perturbed I hadn’t called earlier, so my pick-up time (3:30) was cutting it close for my 5:55 flight. Ack, downtown Manhattan is always the last pick-up, so I was not cutting it close at all. I assured him I wouldn’t have wanted an earlier pick-up time, and I could tell he thought I had bad judgment. Dude, you’re not my father.
I read David Sedaris' book of short stories, Me Talk Pretty One Day as I waited. I didn’t play my “Who’s in First Class Game,” cus I don’t like the feng shui of the Newark airport. It makes it more difficult to observe people. I was also tired, a tad hung-over and sad to be leaving.
When it was time to board, I was non-plussed. This time, there were people actually waiting by the boarding person. I went to the side of the front of the line, because there was a woman blocking me.
“Are you in First Class?” I asked nicely.
“Oh, no—go ahead,” the woman said apologetically.
Then why are you standing right behind the ticket taker??????
I got stuck behind a flight attendant pushing a person in a wheelchair, but didn’t get impatient. I was taking First Class again, yay!
Yes, we had the luxe First Class seats—they were smaller and not leather, but there was four feet between my chair and the next one and a… footrest.
Almost all the First Class passengers were already seated and looked like they belonged there. Again, no one helped me with my suitcase. And I had to put it in someone else’s overhead bin. That’s another pet peeve—why do other people put their carry-on luggage in bins other than their own, so then I’m forced to follow suit. You people suck.
My seat mate looked normal and was talking on his cell phone. He was older and married, still no signs of any young wealthy men. There were two attractive men across the way, but they were together—figured.
This was how I’d imagined First Class. We were offered water or orange juice before we took off. I got water and asked for some champagne.
My seat mate and I started talking about his wife’s horse that had liver cancer but was going to live. I could relate because I grew up riding horses and had owned one for a couple of years. John asked me if I’d paid for my First Class ticket and I demurred. It was too personal of a question at that point. He revealed that his was an upgrade. John was obsessed with attaining mileage, so he could go out of the country with his wife First Class—the only way she’d travel.
“I have three million miles, but that’s not a lot.”
My eyes bugged out.
I think you’re wrong, John—that’s a lot.
John and I spoke about religion, NYC, LA and his children.
“You know, I never talk to people on planes.”
He down played his success and intelligence. “My kids are all smarter than I am.”
John lives in a famous architects’ house in a very exclusive community. He also travels all the time. I don’t meet many modest people. My dad has a theory that people with real money don’t flaunt that fact.
The male flight attendant with a French accent came over with my bottled water, but not my champagne. Again, my romantic fantasy of First Class was fading. The flight crew on my way over were much more together. They even admitted they were understaffed and hoped they were still doing a good job—they were so nice.
My dad’s words echoed in my head, “First Class isn’t what it used to be. No one pays for it anymore, they all use upgrades and miles.” It’s sad when First Class is comparable to coach on certain European airlines like Air France.
I ordered the lasagna for dinner, because it sounded yummy. I didn’t feel like having chicken, and I’d already had beef twice in 8 days. Usually I maybe have it once every two months. Again, on the trip to NYC we had only been offered two entrees. There should always be a vegetarian choice.
More people were into using the lavatory on this flight, and it was the men who were taking forever. I didn’t want to think about why.
Somehow John and I got on the topic of dating and men. I revealed that I should move back to NYC if I want to meet my soul mate.
“Well, what are you looking for?”
“Intelligence, someone who reads, loves to travel, dresses well, is a foodie, funny, likes to do cultural things, and is spontaneous, secure, successful, good looking, considerate...”
John nodded, “I understand why you want an east coast guy.”
Then we got on the topic of maintenance levels. There was a reason for this that didn’t have to do with me, but I don’t write things here that (because of the personal nature) other people might get upset about if they read it.
“Do you consider yourself high-maintenance?”
I contemplated this. Low-maintenance implies you don’t have much self-esteem and/or could always go to fast food restaurants on dates and be happy. But high-maintenance means you expect to be catered to at all times and act like a princess.
“Well, I’m medium-maintenance.”
Wow, I really needed to start dating men who were used to dating high-maintenance women, because they would see me as a goddess. That was a great plan.
John approved of my maintenance level. I secretly wished that John was my father, because he was so cool. I was having a great time and didn’t let myself of get too irritated over the fact that our flight attendants sucked. It took forever for our row to get our dinner. I wasn’t offered another roll with my entrée like I was on the way over. This is important, because your first sourdough roll comes with your salad and is hot. It would be hard by the time your entrée comes. They didn’t come around offering beverages often enough.
When the sundae cart came around I said to John, “Aren’t these the best?”
He had flown First Class many times, “They’re okay.”
I did notice this time that the ice-cream didn’t have the best consistency. I doubted it was a premium brand, but it still made me happy. At the end of the flight, John got my suitcase down for me. I gave him my number and he promised to make his son call me. I was flattered, but figured the chances of him calling me were slim.
“I’ve never set him up with anyone, and I never talk to people on planes.”
I think I blushed slightly. I’ve only been set up a few times and not one had been a good match. In my fantasy world, John would be my father-in-law. That would be the best. The cliché--the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree-- went through my head. Oh, and that-- First Class is the best, even if the service (domestically) isn’t what it used to be.