If someone vindictive brought my personal definition of “Misery”to life, it would be a long haul flight in cattle class.
Picture, if you may, a small, confined space into which you cram as many people as economically possible. Preferably all from different countries, so no one has any resistance to each others foreign coughs, colds and sneezes. Add to this a ventilation system that quite effectively mixes this all up and distributes it evenly amongst the victims. Whilst, simultaneously, not changing the air for fresh because opening a window would cause all our ears to explode.
There are not quite enough unpleasantries yet so let’s throw in a low level droning mechanical hum. Make sure it can cut through even the loudest showing of Finding Nemo by providing uncomfortable headphones that dont fit or include any sort of ability to produce a bass tone. This would be accompanied by a constant vibration. Just enough so you can’t relax and take your hand off the sachet of water in case it falls into your crotch. And then just for fun, let’s have some intermittent, completely unpredictable, violent movements called turbulence. These would kick in at opportune moments like when you attempt to open the single portion of water you’ve been assigned.
You get a specific volume of water because otherwise you’ll need the toilet… bursting your bladder is almost more comfortable than using this facility. The fuselage curves overhead so matching perfectly a ladies back when sitting. I had put off going as long as I could so when I did finally go, I was rushing through my auto pilot for such matters and stood to wee, as a man does. My legs were spread wide, waiting for the oncoming vindictive turbulence. I stood respectfully close to the bowl for fear of making a mess of the facilities or worse, myself. This meant I was simultaneously pissing and doing my best impression of the limbo, craning my head backwards as far as my stiff spine would allow. Until the planes moved swiftly and my cheek slammed into the slanted roof and I nearly wet myself.
Now, if that isn’t an accurately terrifying description enough, imagine a gentleman of my robustness enduring this situation. I find my seat amongst the endless rows. I discover that I have been provided with what can only be described as the aviation equivalent of a childs lawn chair, for this 11 hour flight. You know the type, they look exactly the same as grown up chairs but they are smaller and usually red. And if you mistakenly make a final approach and actually attempt to sit in one, you’ll find your arse stuck. Stuck so firmly that you fear when you try to rise, you’d take the lightweight chair with you, were it not bolted down. Ok so your butt is snugly secure, good. A more positive me right now would say it adds to the safety, you’re not likely to fly across the plane in a crash with your cheeks firmly wedged in a sweaty faux leather armchair.
Actually you can’t call it an armchair because that conjures the wrong image. Imagine mini-me’s lawn chair a moment. Now give it a back at precisely 90 degrees to the base, and a tall skinny woman who shouts at you if this is not the case. You have to sit bolt upright, without option, for 11 hours. Normally when sitting on an uncomfortable dining room chair, your butt slides forwards and you slump a little. Not today, your knees are wedged in tightly, providing convenient lumbar support for the chap in front. You are so close to them that you know what brand the soap was when last they washed.
…. 11 hours is a long time in this condition. I think I’m going to investigate business class flights next time. I passed the time as best I could, following the lead of my neighbouring cattle. I watched a few moovies (see what I did there?) and wrote the blogs I missed the last few days. I couldn’t sleep, I had only just risen a few hours ago. I hadn’t long dropped the motorbike off in Chris’s garage before the drive to the airport with George and David. Sleep was also out of the question by the lack of headroom the fuselage gave me forcing my neck into an unnatural position.
Descending into thick a polluted cloud of smog, I exited in Hong Kong. This really got to me in my tired state. Humans really know how to fuck important stuff up, like the air we breath. Wearily, I searched for a comfy patch of floor for a nap before my next torturous flight.