Monday, October 13, 2008
Venezuela, flight attendants and blubber
As an airline crewmember, I lay over in the land of Hugo Chavez frequently. Today we parked our plane between Cubana and Iran Air, with Aeroflot further down the line. The hostility towards Americans is increasingly palpable. Not from the "regular folks", although they do tend to be demanding and melodramatic. But the attitude of the Guardia Nacional and airport officials is sometimes deliberately antagonistic. As if the attitude is trickling down from, oh, I don't know, maybe a national leader who is crazier than Charles Manson eating Cocoa Puffs. I've told my daughters to watch the international news so I can wave to them during the mock trial before my execution.
Speaking of airlines, ours is trying to save fuel by paring unnecessary weight. They're stocking flights with less water, for example. The beancounters should roll in some livestock scales and check out the flight attendants. Some of them would cork up the overwing emergency exits. It's not like they make up for it with outstanding social skills, either. The Asian, Latin and European airlines hire pleasant 98-pound hotties. We hire surliness-on-the-hoof.
While I'm on a roll about quivering masses of gelatinous protoplasm, ever sit between two passengers who overlap the armrests and squish up against you? It's kind of like returning to the womb, so warm and moist.