Did you know that first-class passengers need to wait the same amount of time as coach travellers when there is a flight delay? It’s true. After working hard all their lives, or collecting miles, they weren’t able to cut the delay for themselves.
Priority boarding and free champagne is what they collected so many miles for. So instead of waiting at the gate for the flight to take off, they can now sip at golden fizzy water during their wait while sitting in seats with real leg space. And potentially look with guilt at the hard-working bourgeois that didn’t work hard enough. “May be if you had worked a little harder…” in the words of Jerry “frequent flyer” Seinfeld.
And if you don’t consume alcohol, your entire life struggle (or luck and reward) has only given you the ability to forgo the freedom of the gate for an opportunity to avoid making eye contact with other people boarding the plane and walking past you. If you happen to be a nice person, all this is more of a bane. You feel bad at the fact that most people don’t see the pre-takeoff drinks until they are already a man.
So before I make a DJ mix of a Seinfeld and Louis CK joke, let me squeeze in another preaching. The Queen’s Necklace is nice and symbolic, but don’t call it the best place on earth. I went to NYC a couple of weeks ago, and most things there are just ten times the size and density of the things in Mumbai. So people who visit both places will go, “Meh…” when they see CST or Tardeo. So if anything, Mumbai is probably “my most preferred” place on Earth. Carlin’s “accident of birth” bit does a decent job of explaining one side of the story of this regional allegiance. May be it’s the familiarity. Not to say NYC is better or worse. Just that in both places, tourists are impressed for two days, and most people who live there visit Times Square and Nariman Point and the Gateway and the Statue once or never in their lives. These are not the things that attracted them (us?) to the city in the first place.
The promise of a better tomorrow is what brought them here. The idea that days following the seemingly temporary day-to-day survival are a commensurate reward to the cost leaving home is what brought them here. Opportunity and probable prosperity brought them here. They travel coach with dreams of watching from their first class seats, as their past selves trudge along the narrow aisle with infants in one hand and rollerboards in the other.
A flight that was delayed by three hours.