It is so hard to believe, but it is already almost mid-March. I am not even sure where the time has gone, but it has been passing quite quickly lately. Having said that, today almost seemed like Christmas was here again as in the post, I received six holiday cards from friends. Okay, so you may be wondering how that is possible. A fair question. After I moved from La Antigua to Sol y Mar last year, I thought I had given everyone my new post address, but these cards were addressed to La Antigua. Last evening, I received a call from the family renting the house saying that I had some post. I assumed that it was something that had just arrived, so I met Melanie in the car park of Carrefour’s today. I was beginning to feel like Guy Burgess as she passed me a plastic market bag that was chocker with post that they had been saving for me. Well, at least I now have the cards, and actually, it was kind of fun opening Christmas cards in March.
I just came back from another business trip. I really don’t mind the trips, after all, this is how I get to the client offices. But whilst I do like being there, if truth be told, I really do hate going there. High on my list of travel whinging is all the waiting at airports as some incredibly underpaid person tries to figure out what the geometric images are that come up on their scanner-doo-wah screens. I guess that I am not too keen on standing in the endless queues that fill the airports I seem to frequent either. And if those two things aren’t enough, my last trip to Geneva was, well, interesting.
Whilst standing in the boarding queue, I could overhear a rather well-dressed businessman-type talking to an attractive young woman who he was obviously travelling with. No doubt it was his niece. I came to this conclusion because she was incredibly attractive but far younger than the man in the tailored glenplaid suit. As they were standing there, the young woman (who I began to think had a tattoo that said ‘1st-class slapper’ hidden somewhere under the skirt that only covered about 6” of her kilometre-long legs) was pouting because the boarding process would require that we all would be packed into a motor coach for the trip to the plane. So the old guy was offering her reasons why we had to do this, all of which were about as realistic as my comment about her being his niece. After about ten minutes, we were on our way across the tarmac to the waiting Airbus turbo-blaster-take-off A320. How these planes manage to accelerate from zero to a kazillion miles per hour in a second or two is beyond me, but that is another whole story. I managed to get off the coach and board the plane, lofting my travel trolley in the overhead bin above seat 3C and sat down.
As the people shuffled past me toward the back of the plane, my right shoulder was only pummelled a dozen or so times, but I wasn’t too concerned about that. An aisle seat is always prone to having that happen during boarding. Getting off the plane isn’t a problem because I am in the front and only guess at all the chaotic pushing and shoving that is taking place behind me. As the last people from the coach boarded the plane, there was the fun couple. I could have figured out it was them even if my eyes were closed as soon as I heard her whinging about something and him putting forth another bollocks-filled explanation. And then they sat down in the row immediately in front of me. How nice. My expectation was that for the next two hours, I will hear explanations about everything from global warming to the financial crisis to how planes manage to stay in the air to God-knows-what. As we taxied toward the runway, I found I was right. Lucky, lucky me. I was almost tempted to ask if I could switch seats as the plane took off. The Lolita-look-a-like, who was in 2A, let out a sound that was reminiscent of Meg Ryan in the restaurant scene of “When Harry Met Sally” as the plane surged into the sky. I just prayed he wouldn’t try to explain the dynamics of thrust to her.
Less than ten minutes into the flight, her uncle-father-boss-mentor-customer (you can pick which ever of these you think how this guy views his ‘relationship’), who was occupying the seat immediately in front of me, began seeing how far back his seat would go. It wasn’t that he just reclined the seat. It seemed as if he thought that if you keep pressing the button and bouncing against it, eventually it will go dead flat. It was as if the seat in front of me was occupied by an ADD-laden adolescent that was out of control.
I had planned on using my computer on the flight, but it didn’t take too long to realise that the repeated rocking back-and-forth of the seat back in front of me would smash the lap-top screen. I was filled with options as to what I could do. I could have; A) asked to change my seat; B) asked the bloke to stop the back and forth activity; C) slapped him on the top of his head. I almost opted out for option C, but then I realised that my hand would need to be sterilised to get all the grease off of it from his rather dire comb-over. I instead elected to just close my eyes and think about something more important…like how good it would be to be home again in a couple of days and how life would once again return to normal.
an island market at Christmas
an acrylic of the island in front of Sol y Mar
the Palma airport on my last trip - a bit empty in winter
what the airport is like in summer
who I needed as flight crew that day
copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, James B. Rieley