Friday, October 03, 2003

My flight back...

We were somewhere above Greenland when things really started to get
unbearable. On getting on, a young man had slid up the aisle to ask: "Would
anyone here like a free drink?" Once he had removed my tongue from his
lapel, he whisked away the young gentleman next to me, and deposited, in his
place, a young lady carrying a six-month old child of indeterminate sex and
intelligence. It blew drool-bubbles insolently at me as we took off.

To my dismay, it was the dashing young thing who had actually changed seats
who was to receive the free drink, rather than those who would now be left
confronted on one side by a grinning homunculus, greedily grabbing its
mother's ivory teat, and on the other by a Japanese student, who greeted my
every plea for another vodka and tonic with a tut, a sigh, and a flick of
the hair. Maybe I should have asked the stewardesses.

It wasn't long before the child to my left began to display his displeasure
at the quality of the in-flight entertainment magazine, by balling up his
tiny fists and shouting at everyone who passed by. Joining in made me feel
better. Needless to say, I tired after only an hour.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle left me distinctly cold and dehydrated, but
not completely unmoved. It may have been the depressurisation of the cabin,
it may have been one of the many vodkas and tonic, it may even have been
some strage, hormonal combination of the breast-sucking to my left, and the
presentation of Cameron Diaz' bottom at various angles in front of me, but
it was definitely uncomfortable. I returned my tray to the upright position.

I considered, for a moment, making full use of the thin blanket with which
we had been provided, but, on closer inspection, found it to be of a thin
and feeble thread, almost entirely transparent, and potentially incapable of
retaining the results of any serious use. The image of a young mother,
wiping jissom from her face and neck as she called for cabin crew to remove
me, lying in the foetal position, shreds of insufficient blanket twisted
into my fists was not going to relieve the pressure.

Thus I slunk, vainly concealing my tented crotch behind a bag of dry-roasted
peanuts, into the bathroom, only fumbling for about ten minutes with the

The question to be resolved was, in the first, one of position. The more
hurried, urgent and somehow forbidden lure of the standing, or the
contemplative wiles of the seat. Having six hours to spare, and no shortage
of memories from which to choose, I opted for the seat...

The first blast tore the side from the 'plane, and an air hostess named
Giselle was sucked out and flung into the icy North Atlantic, neatly
indicating the nearest emergency exits with her trajectory . Small, red
lights began to blink in the cockpit, as dehydrated lasagnes, hand luggage,
and one six-month old child disappeared through the gaping rent in the
aircaft's side.

The second and third emissions were, as usual, small, shuddery affairs,
capable of doing no more than covering those in rows 21-35 in a thin,
glistening film, which may well have saved their lives.

I staggered back to my seat, member stiffening as the pressure in the cabin
fell, wiped myself on the handily-placed 'Clean Up Towelette' left over from
dinner, and fastened my seatbelt as directed. As the oxygen masks dropped
from the ceiling, I took the opportunity to have a cigarette, whilst the
cabin crew were more occupied with throwing out the ballast of the drinks

"There was perfectly good vodka in that." I thought, as we ploughed through
a family of killer whales, and sloughed to a stop in front of a
bemused-looking penguin.