Thursday, November 30, 2017

Flight lines...

It all started out so predictably.

Waiting around for the boarding announcement.

Queueing for boarding by rows.

Showing identity and smartphone with flash-code.

Falling over my sodding suitcase on wheels.

At last, I was walking down the ramp towards the stationary Airbus 320 destination Corsica.

On entering the plane, it was apparent that this was no ordinary flight.

Indeed, this was a very particular flight.

I did notice that the air hostesses and stewards were peculiarly attired.

Regulation uniform had been hidden beneath crudely drawn, hurriedly personalised t shirts.

While their greeting on board was pretty customary, it was clear that their minds just weren't  on the job.

Something bigger than uniform, function and role was visibly bursting out - attachment, nostalgia, thrill, warmth, every day  human emotion.

On sitting down in our under-sized seats, on attaching our seatbelts we were introduced into a pop-up theatre of humanity.

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, this flight is a very special occasion for our friend and colleague Poppy (we shall call her remembrance)...after 20 years of loyal service she is giving up her job as an air hostess to change her life."

At the end of the announcement quasi-spontaneous (rather forced) applause broke out around the aircraft.

"Hurrah for Poppy."

The air-safety instructions delivered mechanically beneath a silly t shirt, gaudy head-antenna and glitter were an event too exceptional for me not to note.

I took a photo of the steward's performance.

The steward in the steward immediately came towards me, stood over me and demanded that I delete the offending photo.

"Taking photos is against the rules." he said sternly.

I couldn't not agree with him on a number of levels.

First: I was unable to ask permission before hand. He could quite rightly find that a rude imposition.

Second: I was treating him as an object. (actually it was the strange juxtaposition of discourses which fascinated me).

Third: He had no means of knowing whether I might, not only steal his image, but spread it on social media.

Fourth: The celebration for Poppy, the applause, the silly t shirts may not have been officially sanctionned. Any photo of their transgression might have resulted in punnishment for the perpetrators of the celebrations for Poppy's farewell flight.

I deleted the offending photo...sheepishly.

What I didn't mention to the steward was that I hadn't taken one photo....I had taken two.

During the flight, I felt a moral dilemna: I wondered whether I should confess to the man, ask forgiveness (again) and explain what I wanted to do with the photo, ask for assent, or delete it before his eyes, thank him, and wish him well.

There was at no moment any untransactional dialogue between him and I.

During the flight, it was all steward-speak:

"Would you like savoury or sweet snack?"

"No we don't have any tonic water."

"Thank you."

"Bye bye."

He was much too taken up with his "hen-flight" celebrations to be bothered to speak to me when I stepped off the plane.

I decided to keep the photo.

On leaving the plane, there were the air-crew, champagne in hand,  taking selfies of each other in their glitter glasses, and t shirts with red hearts on them.

Was the fancy dress for Poppy or for the passengers?

I struggle to untie the ethics.

  • As passengers, we had no choice but to accept the Poppy theatre.
  • As passengers, we were a captive audience to the aircrew's celebration.
  • As passengers, we were expected to participate more as a back-drop - as  extras to their party, than invitees.

We were being reduced to the role of audience on reality TV.

On arriving the airport, I went to seek a means of escape.

My connecting flight being in a few hours, I walked up and down trailing my baggage, looking for a bus, taxi, pavement (sidewalk).

I was confronted by transport desert.

Et merde.

I resigned myself to a long stay in the airport.

No transport, rubbish souvenir shop, low battery.

It's extraordinary how electric sockets become oasis in transport desert.

I found the shortest charging cable known to modern man or woman or wilerbeast in a combination safe on a wall.

Who invented that beauty?


No movable chairs. None. Only fixed chairs. Only fixed metal uncomfortable chairs.

A woman helpfully suggested that I might leave my phone in the safe to charge.

She didn't understand my plight.

I wanted to use the bloody phone to release my soul purgatory not lock it up in a box.

I sat uncomfortably, at an angle on my suitcase, my back suffering, my head throbbing at their fucking security messages which were every ten minutes.

"Your suitcase will be taken away and destroyed if left unattended."

I couldn't leave the suitcase unattended cos it was the thing I was sitting on.

As the time ticked by the onslaught of their loudspeakers drove me progressively madder.

Thank God for "Hyperspektiv" app which is a means of expressing dynamic paranoia like no other.

Hyperspektiv, PicPlayPost,  iMovie,  hours of sitting in alienating airport, bored, Audiocopy, Dynamite...BOOM!!!!!

I noted today in the Guardian that the prisoners of Guantanamo have an art exhibition going on in New York.

The article was entitled:


Well fuck yes.

No comments:

Post a Comment