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Monthly Archives: August 2007

Livin’ the Life

Greetings from United flight 152. I am currently seated in seat 2A on an Airbus 319 en route from San Francisco International to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. For those of you unfamiliar with the Airbus 319, seat 2A is a first class seat. Now, lest you should think that I’m just rolling in the dough, flying thousands of miles I style, let me assure you that, while I may enjoy a good cookie now and then, I’m certainly not rolling in the dough – it gets a bit sticky.
Actually, I managed to score this first class seat using 15,000 of my bucketload of frequent flier miles that I’ve accumulated over the years. Between United, Delta and Northwest, I think I have accumulated somewhere in the vicinity of 500,000 miles. Rolling in the air miles is a more apt description for me, I guess.
But this first class seat didn’t come without its tribulations. Indeed, when I arrived at the airport to check in, I had mysteriously been moved from first class to coach. A might strange, I thought. The lobby agent revealed to me that checkin for my flight had been suspended due to an aircraft change, so I was rebooked in a terrible middle seat on a flight that was scheduled to leave only 20 minutes later. Excellent. From first class to a middle seat in the sardine can and only 20 minutes to clear security and get to my gate. Now that’s my idea of a good time.
I rushed as quickly through security as is possible without arousing suspicion, and proceeded to head for my gate, which was conveniently the absolute farthest possible gate from the security line. Gate 90 of 90. I had to dodge old men with canes, leap over young children playing on the moving walkways, shove aside pregnant women, and even steal a loaf of bread from a hobbling old granny just to get to the gate with enough time to see the door close in front of me. I swear that the damn security device on the door winked at me.
Things were going my way, I tell you. In fact, I was so pleased with the state of affairs that I popped open a bottle of champagne right then and there and had a little party with everyone else in the airport. Alright, not really. I darted through the airport to the Customer Service Center, determined that I was going to be first in that Customer Service line if I had to vote for Hilary Clinton to make it possible. As it turns out, my haste was needless, for I arrived at the counter to discover no customers and three agents. Hmm, two men and one woman. I selected the woman, confident that I could woo her with my charm and wit.
“OK, I had a confirmed first class seat on 152, but I got put in sardine class on 150,” I said, “and I seem to have missed that flight. The agent at Gate 90 gave me a boarding pass for 152, but it’s seat 19C, and the number 19 is unlucky for me because it is a prime number greater than 7. Now, I’m not one to want to claim entitlement, but golly gee, I’m entitled to something better than an unlucky dump of a seat when this morning I was a respected member of the first class community.” To which she replied, “Sorry, sucker.” So much for charm and with. Alright, so maybe the conversation didn’t go exactly that way, but I did walk away with my good old 19C boarding pass, with a useless piece of cardboard telling me that I could maybe upgrade a future flight if I learned to speak Japanese, Swahili and Yiddish fluently within a week as a consolation prize.
At the next gate – 85 – I again elected to try my luck with the female agent. I knew things were going my way when she told me, “well, there are three chances you could get a first class seat, but there are four more important people ahead of you on the upgrade list, so your chances are, well, not good.” Finally a ray of sunshine. She did take my name, though, and promised to call me “in a week or two or whenever she finished washing her hair and feeding her long-lost third cousin’s friend’s uncle’s stepdaughter’s fish in Zaire.” Oh sorry, wait, that was my date last night. Anyhow, I left the counter, again with my beloved 19C boarding card, resigned to the fact that I would not be boozing it up on the plane for the 4-hour flight.
Dejectedly, I migrated in the direction of a terminal cafe. My demeanor must have been grim and my appearance disheveled, as two other travellers each placed a dime in what they probably thought was a begging dish, but which was actually just my 19C boarding card that I had mangled while trying to fashion an origami crane. I arrived at the cafe, which had some trumped up french name, and purused the selections. Hmmm… “I’ll take overpriced sandwich #1 and poverty-inducing beverage #3, please.” The total bill came to $14.27, although I only had to pay $14.07, thanks to my earlier origami debacle. Hey, at least the mayonnaise was free – “Today Only: Free Mayonnaise!”
Now, who says that the world isn’t ironic? What crueller irony than for me to return to Gate 85 just in time to hear my name called. Oh good, she’s found me a seat that isn’t in the pit of despair. As it turns out, though, my 0 in 77 chance of getting a first class seat had panned out! So there I was, dried out turkey sandwich in hand, turning over my failed origami project to the gate agent, and receiving a shiny first class boarding pass in return. I felt like Charlie Bucket when he found Willie Wonka’s Golden Ticket.
Newly empowered, I strutted over to the first class red carpet and boarded in front of all those other sad little sardines in the coach line. Coach is only for losers, I smugly thought as I breezed passed. Just as I was about to enter the jetway, one of the sardines called out, “Hey! You’ve got toilet paper stuck to your shoe!” I turned my head over my shoulder in slow motion and gave him what was coming, “Yah, well, I’m in First Class!”

Categories: A Day in the Life | 1 Comment

The Social Life

For those of you who are wondering where I’ve been for the past month and a half, here’s a quick answer for you: I’ve been busy. Since my last post on June 24, I have actually been in San Francisco almost the entire time. No, I haven’t been jaunting off to exotic foreign destinations. Salt Lake City is about as exotic as it has been, and that was only for a few days this past weekend.
Life has been keeping me busy since June 24 when I got back from China. For the entire month after I returned, I was focused on one major event – the St. Dominic’s Young Adults Coffee House. This is an annual fund raising event for our Young Adults Group, and I was one of the co-producers this year. Let me tell you, putting on a 3-hour show like that definitely takes time and energy. But the results were phenomenal. At some point I might get some video up here to show you how it went, but don’t hold your breath.
Besides the Coffee House, I’ve also been maintaining an exceptionally active social calendar. The evites are just flooding in these days, it seems. As of this morning, I had 16 evites, not to mention a multitude of other social events that aren’t being planned on evite. Of the 16 evites, I have responded YES to 8, NO to 5, and still have 3 that I need to try and fit in somewhere. I think earlier this year I posted a blog entry saying that I was going to try and reduce the demands on my time. I should have known that wasn’t going to be possible. Far from reducing those things that demand my time, I have added to them. Oh well, at least I have a life that I enjoy living!
Who knows what exotic tales I might have the next time I find a few minutes to jot something down here. Until then…

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