A $7 beer is worth it at 30,000 feet, if you have the funds to spare. I do not fall into the latter category but that doesn’t necessarily exclude me from the former.
Go home broke, my motto for many years now. Harder to do since a fateful excursion to Texas years ago, though it can still happen without much effort on my part.
Not as cold as it should be, the beer, and not as warm as it could be. I could buy a sixer of this brew for $7, a fact that doesn’t sway decisions at high altitude.
Still, I sip slowly, let the liquid slosh around, my tongue awash in pale ale.
The pockets of my grey woolen shirt are uncomfortably full, a byproduct of our culture of corporate manipulation; $25 for a carry-on bag, even if it fits under your seat.
I can see the board meeting now, the slightly-overweight CEO with poorly died hair (an attempt to disguise fifty strands of grey) laying out the master plan:
1) mishandle, mistreat, and misuse checked bags
2) lose customers’ trust in your ability to check bags
3) convince customers that carry-on luggage is the way to go
4) charge for carry-on luggage
Shit, even the flight crew is selling something, the Captain’s calm voice not announcing our cruising altitude but pitching a credit card that will earn you that trip to Cabo you never wanted. A good time for a child to wail away in a register usually reserved for calling dogs…
Of course the plane is packed to the gills with pre-teen adolescent athletes, a traveling soccer team or something equally worthless, all of them hyped up on Wendy’s and Poweraide, each no doubt imagining the day when a chartered flight will transport them between World Cup matches.
It occurs to me that every passenger in front of me is transfixed by the small, single serving television screen lodged into each seatback. Like moths drawn to late night porch lights by some primitive instinct, my planemates stare forward, unblinking, into the digital depths of the inflight sample broadcast.
I close my eyes for a minute and imagine drifting off to sleep, waking up post-crash in the snow encrusted mountains four miles below.
How would I survive? Between my over-stuffed wool shirt and light jacket stowed under my seat (in lieu of carry-on bag, of course) I would most likely die of exposure before the rescue team reached the wreckage.
That assumption is reliant on surviving the crash, which is highly unlikely. So I think ‘is this how I want to die?’ Mildly intoxicated and stuffed between two unremarkably middle-aged men?
Sure, why not.