Traveling is good. But maybe I’d rather do the teleportation thing. We got a little messed up with Cronenberg’s The Fly, that alone had to shatter the dreams of generations of scientists trying to get teleportation to work… Too bad.
Because the only thing that’s right up there with teleportation, is traveling first-class. As for me, I don’t do first-class.
Nope. Far from it.
Far from it, meaning, the far end of plane, you know, the usual class. Ouais…I’m talking economy, okay?
So I find myself at the airport, calm as can be, totally unaware of the social disaster that awaits. I check my bags when behind me, I get a hint of a delicate perfume, and it’s legit. I turn around and see a well-known fashion editor who I don’t know very well. We say hello and I think, Cool, a friend! We’ll talk.
Ha. As soon as I check in, I’m heading to my gate and I see her pass by and going toward this section with a mouth-watering gold sign that says: EXCLUSIVE VIP LOUNGE. OFF LIMITS TO YOU, GARANCE. IN YOUR DREAMS.. Something like that. She rushes inside and disappears.
I patiently wait to board, make my way onto the plane, and here, I’ll just say this, I hate Air France. I dunno… Couldn’t you maybe let us enter from the back of the plane? So we wouldn’t have to see what is now right in front of me!
And what do I see? Oh, nothing. Just first class, in a mix of leather and wood, feels like the show Dallas, where each seat is practically like a mini-living room that transforms into a real bed, equivalent to 12 seats in economy. Oh wait, just verified with the seating chart, it’s 24.
It’s pretty much all downhill from here. I pass by the other classes that follow. Business, Premium, what have you… Each time I think I’m at the right place, well, I’m not. The seats get smaller and smaller and I continue back, and back, and still have yet to see my number.
And it’s just about nowish that I see my Premium class fashion editor curled up in a cashmere blanket with a big smile on her face. Tee-hee. Ouais, great. See that? See what this does to me? Nothing but the knowledge of the lack of comfort to come, drives me nuts.
Then suddenly, as I slide open another curtain. Bam.. Reality hits me like a ton of… Behold, the tiny folding seats. It’s here that I’ll spend 9 hours, 45 minutes, and 32 seconds from wheels up to touch down.
I try to remain cool, calm, collected and be in total control of my self-journey. At last, I find my place. Right smack in the middle of the middle row. Completely trapped. Awesome. Breathe in, breathe out. I fish out my 564 or so magazines, my laptop, my chocolates, all my stuff and try to forget the world around me.
I close my eyes when all of a sudden I hear people around me not just talking, but talking loudly, giving each other high-fives. Merde, what the hell is happening? My chair is shaking. I open my eyes, and there, I see…
A basketball team. In jerseys and all. I kid you not. I’m crossing the Atlantic surrounded by a basketball team. Who literally overflow out of their seats and must ache, I’m guessing, looking at the transatlantic size of 14 pairs legs. I crouch. Okay, maybe I’m a little afraid. Only one thing to do: snooze.
I wake up in the middle of…Bah, no idea what the time is. Anyway, it’s dark and my seatmate has his head on my shoulder, snoring with mouth open wide. His teammate on my other side has his legs stretched out, totally invading my personal space. I’m dying of thirst. I need a quick bathroom break. Mais bon. I’m not about to wake up a sleeping giant, I saw that one too, and this one’s in very deep slumber. I push his head gently, this takes me good half-hour before giving up and I turn on my laptop. So be it, if it’s going to be like that, i’ll get some work done.
Hmm. I mean, I’d like to work, but as I’m about to get started, I’m faced with a dilemma: Mr. Basketball in the seat in front of me is leaned back as far as he can go, Mr. Slam Dunk next to me, has his legs in front of my seat, and the two of them together practically close my tray table all together and my computer is an inch away from my face, keyboard practically making it impossible to breath. Okay, no choice but to abandon all hopes of writing.
I decide to listen to some music. I put on my headphones, Kanye West in the hooouse, and I close my eyes. It’s weird, because usually, cranking the volume up high is sure to make my eardrums explode, but I get nothing. These planes, on top of being utterly humiliating and making you fight for every inch of space, they’re quite noisy. I keep my eyes shut. If I ignore the cramp on my right thigh, I’ll be fine. Well, almost fine.
But then, someone taps my shoulder. I open my eyes. And before me, red eyes, blood-shot and seething in anger. It’s my seatmate, furiously pointing at my laptop. What? I take off my earphones and then…. I get it.
My fellow passengers stare at me. I see the rage of the economy class in their eyes.
There’s my headphones unplugged. And the music on full blast.
I’ve woken up half the plane.
Crap. I still have seven hours and twenty three minutes left trying to forget it all, feeling sorry for myself and my impending doom and I swear you’ll never see me in the back of the plane again.
When I get off the plane, I must look like Davy Jones, the slimy captain from the Pirates of the Caribbean. At the baggage pick-up, a moment away from my breaking point, I take notice of my fashion editor, fresh as Natalia Vodianova after a good night’s sleep. Always the charmer, she bids me a very first-class hello.
Argh. The bastards. They made me want something that I don’t give a damn about.
But they wont get me. You know why? I’ll be flying again in a few hours, destination: NYC because over there, it’s Fashion Week!
Um…ouais. You guess right. Economy, the way to go. Wish me, if not a bon voyage, wish me a trip surrounded by a team of… I dunno…. Jockeys ?
Translation : Magali Eva Suárez & Tim Padraic Sullivan.