Other people claim they hate plane flights, but I love them. I love the thought of two, or six, or in this case, twenty-two hours to myself. I can do whatever I want. I can read (People magazine, no less!), I can work, I can watch a movie, I can do a crossword, I can sleep, I can talk to my seatmate, anything! I realize that I could make these same choices in my everyday life, but other things seem to get in the way – social commitments, work commitments, doing everyday errands, blah.
I had a lovely German seatmate on the flight from SFO to Frankfurt. He was a very statuesque man and I almost (read, almost) offered my aisle seat to him. I felt much better when he explained he always requested a middle seat because his shoulders were so wide that he didn’t like the aisle seat; people continuously bumped into him. I didn’t feel quite so guilty about my coveted aisle seat. We discussed travel, and the thrill of living in another language – how that affects the way you think, how you express yourself. He had made a lot of money in the watch business (go figure) and invested in a few small properties in Germany. He rents apartments and garages. His friends and family badger him to buy more, invest more, more, more, more, but his attitude is, “Why bother? I live a comfortable life. Not extravagant, but comfortable. If I buy more properties, yes, I’ll be richer, but I’ll have to work more and have less time to enjoy what I have. Who wants that?” I love that attitude. We were having a lovely conversation, both of us plagued by insomnia, until the woman in front of us angrily stood up, turned around and shushed us with the admonition, “Some of us are trying to sleep!” We raised our eyebrows at each other, shrugged, and turned on our i-Pods.
I also love airplane food. Yes, I do. The presentation is magnificent. Little packets of food – a salad, bread, butter, a sampling of a main meal, dessert, *and* a piece of chocolate. It’s great. I’m a sucker for individual portions. And it’s served hot. Who doesn’t like hot food? I have a secret obsession with the refreshing towelletes that all but US airlines provide. I never use them on the plane, instead stashing them in my purse. I feel like I’m channeling my grandmother, who grew up in the Depression and saved twist ties and recycled tin foil. But refreshing towellettes are so useful! Especially when travelling. Suppose you’re in the desert and you’ve travelled for days. You arrive at an oasis and are offered plump dates by your host. You want to partake, but feel the grime and dust of three days of travel crusting your hands. But wait! You know you have a refreshing towellette and you briefly excuse yourself, quickly swiping the lemon scented towellette over your face and hands, returning to the feast feeling fresh and anew. See – there’s a reason I hoard these precious packets.