This morning, I got on a plane to Chicago for a meeting. The plan was, that after the meeting, I would take a cab from potential client back to the airport for a plane to take me home.
I hear they have these new-fangled things called telephones and video conferencing that makes one-day round-trip travel less necessary. Actually, most times, the older and ever more quaint tradition of meeting someone and shaking his or her hand is really the best approach to sealing the deal that turns a potential client into a new client. But I still need all of the gadgets and technology to meet somewhat far flung potential clients in real time and in the flesh. So neither alone works as well as both do together, in the right proportions. (If we are talking about teenagers and adult email/text junkies, then you need to send them to a monastery to start a 12-step program before even talking rationally to them.)
As I am floating along in a technology-induced empowerment daydream (it is early for me, remember), I realize that this morning’s trip is on a put-put plane. The gangway doesn’t go all the way to the plane. We have to step outside in the sleet and the rain and jump over puddles (that could qualify as rivers) in order to climb the thin (as in one-at-a-time only), small staircase into our claustrophobic airplane. So much for my earlier comments on the power of technology. I am no longer dreaming. I am awake to the reality of a cold, wet, snowy day with wet feet and barely two inches separating me from my fellow passenger.
There is an woman in row 7 indirectly trying to get the attention of the flight attendant who is attending to things behind row 22. The woman is being very passive-aggressive about it all — telling everyone that the flight attendant is avoiding her. Clearly, the flight attendant doesn’t hear her. Finally, I ask the woman if I could help get the flight attendant’s attention. She responds, “it’s her job to notice me!!!” Ok, forget the personal touch. Get me the hell out of this plane. What is wrong with video conference? I bet a new rainmaking tactic could be handwritten letters (in crayon, of course) sent by snail mail. No. No. I will not let this woman ruin my dreams of global domination by charming and cajoling and pleading with potential clients far and wide. No. No. So I motioned to the flight attendant that the woman needed her. Had it been an hour earlier, I would have left the plane and took a cab home and hid under the covers.
It seems that the woman — an oversized person — was promised a seat in an exit row because of the extra leg room but she was seated in row 7 — not an exit row. The flight attendant couldn’t re-seat her until everyone was seated. The woman was not pleased and she showed it by griping and grousing at an anger level and amplitude that was just criminal at 8am.
Ultimately, she was able to be re-seated in an exit row. But the seat didn’t recline because there was a second exit row right behind the first one. (The put-put plane that had more exits than windows.) Sooooo, slowing our departure further, Goldilocks had to try the seats in the second exit row. Those seats reclined. Ah, she found the one that would do ju-u-u-ust fine. [sigh] Wait, uh oh, the seatbelts don’t fit. A cruel joke engineered by Papa Bear because he hates when Goldilocks comes, tries everything and leaves a mess.
So, in the end, she moved back up to row 7, opting for a reclining seat over leg room. I would have opted for leg room with no reclining seat. Ultimately, I am glad she was not in charge of the exit doors. I didn’t agree with her judgment call.
Goldilocks caused us to miss our place in take-off and we sat for one hour on the runway. No wonder Papa Bear hates when she comes by, which happens many times, every night, given how many times the story is told on any given day around the world.
Back to my business meeting. It went well. Groveling in person is often effective. Then I got in a cab to start the journey home.
I was able to get an earlier flight, at a cost of $75 (which I bet would have been $50 if I had checked luggage for $25). Regardless, getting home earlier is priceless and I did, in fact, use a MasterCard so I lived that commercial.
As I headed toward the gate, there was a plane boarding to JFK Airport at the next gate (I was flying into LaGuardia Airport). I wanted to switch again because it was another opportunity to get home even earlier. Unfortunately, the two airports, although 10 miles apart, are considered different destination cities and there is a big cost differential to change destinations. The plane had been delayed for three hours and there was a line of disgruntled people waiting to board. I decided that if JFK was that backlogged, that I would save money and not be on a plane ride from hell.
But recognizing the potential for delays and angry hordes, and even though I was assured that LaGuardia was running on time, I decided that an upgrade to first class (not too expensive) was in order, as a mental health prophylactic measure. Sanity, priceless . . . Another MasterCard commercial. I am living the dream. And we were delayed on the tarmac before take-off and we circled before landing, so it was totally worth it. I had plenty of room and I couldn’t smell anyone’s perfume. Now, that the Sniffer (see prior blog entry) made me aware of perfume, I really appreciated only have that slightly nasty airplane smell we have come to expect.
So this all started on a put-put plane sitting on a runway on a cold, snowy, sleeting morning. And now I am in my jammies, having kissed my son before he fell asleep and then crawled into my cozy bed and smiling at my beloved.
Another day on the road to Utopia.