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entitlement part two

part two in a continuing series of reporting on entitlement that i encounter. i should not get such vicarious enjoyment out of seeing powerful people who are accustomed to getting their way not getting their way.

but i do.

this episode: the plane.

kirk and i flew to tampa, florida this weekend to visit my mom for her birthday. i suppose there’s some paradoxical or ironic entitlement in there somewhere, but i’ll choose to ignore it. my mom is 74 and in assisted living, so if i want to take a $93 round trip to surprise her on her birthday, i will. and you can say there’s entitlement there, and there probably is. but i’m not reporting on my own entitlement today. that would require self-examination, and who has time for that? today anyway.

by the way, you read that right. $93 for a round trip from new york to florida. i love american airlines–they are dependable and reliable and have great fare sales if you keep a good watch out. which i do. i check all the time, and when the flights are cheap, i book a couple of trips to visit my mom. everyone always asks me, when they learn i’m going to florida, if i’m flying jet blue. no, i tell them, i’m not. american is cheaper. that’s what i tell them.

what i’m thinking when i say that, though, is “no i’m not flying jet blue, because, unlike you who cannot function without a cell phone glued to your head so you’ll never have to deal with being alone, i enjoy being alone and thus do not need to pay a premium to have a tv in the back of a headrest to keep me entertained.” and, god help us all when they start allowing cell phone usage on airplanes, which today i read that they will start doing in a few years. you can use them on the ground up until a certain point, but once the plane starts taking off and until it safely lands, they are banned.

that will leave the subway as my last refuge against those damn things, which i have one of, by the way, but have the sense not to use constantly to call kirk, say, in the grocery store to give him a minute-by-minute update of the products i am buying.

i think, though, that the woman in her power business suit with briefcase and laptop and such seated in front of me on the plane thought that the rule had gone into effect already, because she was on that phone from the time her ass hit the seat, which, as i learned later from kirk, came immediately after he helped her put her bag in the overhead and she didn’t thank him.

did i mention entitlement?

anyway, she was on that phone practically until the flaps went up to takeoff, well after the announcement to shut them off was made. i had to stare a hole in the back of her head, and was about five seconds from hitting the call button for the waitress in the sky (great song by the replacements, by the way), i mean flight attendant, when she finally hung up. seconds before the flight attendant sat down in the jump seat. power suit woman was in the bulkhead row, with all of her stuff strewn loose everywhere on the floor. she knew she was supposed to stow her stuff in the overhead because she had been told twice by two different flight attendants to do it, but she just ignored them.

the flight attendant that sat down in the jump seat noticed that power suit woman had ignored her request, and reminded her (pretty nicely, i thought, considering) that all loose items must be stowed before takeoff but that, now that the plane was actually taking off, she couldn’t stow them now. but she should stow them when the plane had leveled off.

a request which power suit woman, of course, ignored.

that’s ok, power suit woman. i’ll just duck all of your flying unstowed crap if we hit big turbulence, and i’ll carefully step over your stuff that’s blocking the exit row in case we have to evacuate the plane. because the rules don’t apply to you.

and when the plane was landing, she was again told to stow her stuff, and she didn’t. so finally some in-charge-type flight attendant gathered up all her stuff and threw it in the overhead right before landing. and power suit woman was buckled in and the fasten seat belts light was on and the plane was landing and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it except tell off the poor hapless flight attendant seated facing her in the jump seat. which she did, of course, because the first thing that power-happy people do when they are in a situation where they have no power is to take everything out on someone else, usually whoever happens to be in their path at the moment.

because, of course, her cell phone got swept up in the maelstrom of stuff being stowed in the overhead and now she couldn’t use it when the plane was taxi-ing up to the gate. their enforcement of the rules, which by the way apply to everyone including her, had cost her a precious five minutes of cell phone time.

every word of her bitching and complaining was music to my ears. i should not get such a charge out of things like this.

but i do.

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