I just got back from a family vacation in Mexico early this morning. One thing I love most about my family is that we leave our vacations on good terms and still loving each other. Some families leave trips like this bitter enemies for the next two months until time and space start healing wounds. We're all so good natured that (usually) when things start imploding (or exploding) we just chuckle at the irony and chock it up for something to laugh at later. It's how the Dayleys travel.
One thing I noticed on this particular trip, though, is that plane travel seems to be kind of subtly reverting back to a very Titanic-esque order of business. At least on US Airways. For example, only first class is fed anything. The rest of the commoners have to pay more money to get a drop of water. I wonder if this still applies to screaming babies/airsick passengers.
Airsick passenger in Coach: I'm not feeling very well. I'm pretty sure I'm going to vomit into one of your pathetically small little bags if I don't get some ginger ale into my system soon. Do you have any. . .
Stewardess: Well, Sir/Ma'am, I would be happy to serve you whatever drink you like if you could give me $2. Then I will give you a US Airways commemorable Dixie Cup full of ginger ale to settle your upset stomach.
APIC: But I don't have any cash. Everyone knows that it's stupid to carry cash these days, and even if I did have cash it would probably not be $2 worth.
S: Well, I'm sorry Sir/Ma'am but our guidelines are quite clear - we are not allowed to serve beverages to coach class without a small fee under any circumstances.
APIC: You would prefer that I vomit all over your carpet?
S: Of course not Sir/Ma'am. But for a small fee we could upgrade the status of your complimentary vomit bag. We now provide them in three sizes and colors, as well as scented and unscented options . . .
APIC: But I don't have any money. You're going to have to clean all this -
S: Unfortunately, stewardesses are only in charge of cleaning up messes of any kind in First Class. If you would like me to clean up your vomit, I would be happy to do so for an additional $20. . .
All right. This is a small exaggeration, I admit. But only a small one.
Here are some other great things I saw on my way home yesterday:
1. There was so much humidity in the air in Puerto Vallarta that the plane we boarded was smoking. Seriously. It looked like they'd put dry ice into all the vents. I half expected to hear some kind of creepy music over the vents. I asked the stewardess about it and (after paying her a few quarters for her time) she told me that it was just the condensation and that there was no need to be worried. Very reassuring.
2. There was a woman walking around the Phoenix airport yesterday wearing something that looked like an old Shirley Temple costume (the short, ruffly tap dance skirt variety), pink cowboy boots, and sporting a fro. A big, curly, blondish fro. Amazing. I love people watching. Thank you to that woman, wherever she is, for brightening my day.
3. We waited on the tarmac in Phoenix for an hour (after an hour delay for weather) because the mechanic had to come check something before we could go. The crew did nothing to inform us as to why we were being delayed, so finally after about forty minutes, I asked. I was informed (after spotting her another couple of dollars for her time) that we were waiting for a mechanic to come and sign some paperwork. Apparently, one of the three bathrooms on the plane was out of order. We were still allowed to fly even if the bathroom was not functioning, we just had to have the mechanic come, confirm that the bathroom was broken, sign a paper confirming this fact, and then we would be allowed to go.
I'm being serious.
We waited for an hour for a signature.
Rest assured, though. All class distinction was maintained. The two or three people in first class were guaranteed exclusive use of their bathroom, and the fifty or so of the rest of us had to argue for time over the hole in the back. Phew!