Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ah, Air Travel: the Pretentiousness of the Business Class Lounge

As many of you know, I am currently en route to Nairobi, Kenya to spend the Christmas holiday (for those of you who don't know, guess what! I'm going to Africa! Cool, huh? Sorry you're not on the in list to already know that. I guess I don't like you that much). The government is paying for my family to fly out there, mostly just because they think we're cool. Since Kenya is so far away (Becca can back me up on that one, she took Geography. As it turns out, it's on the other side of the world. Who knew? Becca, that's who.) those of us who were traveling "on orders" (aka those of us under twenty-one or married. They're not as nice to the single twenty-somethings. Mostly we get classified as "crazies" or "weirdies". Fascists.) get to fly in business class. And subsequently get to use the BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE. This is also known as THE MOST PRETENTIOUS PLACE ON EARTH.

[At this moment, you may be thinking, "Dear, idiotic Alyssa. You are twenty-one and far from married. I could name a boatload of people who would consider you a crazy and even more that think of you as a weirdy. There is no way you have a business class ticket. What in the name of all that is good are you doing in that lounge?" The answer is simple: out of the goodness of her pure, pure heart (it's almost Christmas, folks) my mom bought me a two-month membership, which means I can get in and so can anyone I'm related to. Luckily, diseases like pretentiousness are not airborne, so I'm safe. (Speaking of Airborne, they give it out free here!)]

As I write this note, I am sitting in the business class lounge of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. The layout of the place is simple: off to the right we have a slew of desks with high walls for people to use their laptops and phones and to use the internet and to conduct business (funny how that works, huh? Conducting business in the business class lounge). Moving along there are a gaggle of chairs to lounge in (this is the lounge part of the title) with mini-tables, magazine racks, and potted plants scattered throughout. Up a ramp there is something of a finger food and drinks bar where you can eat cookies and apples and mini crackers to your heart's desire. There are also several different forms of alcoholic drinks to choose from. There might have been a soda fountain and a hot chocolate machine, but you know me. I only have eyes for Bloody Marys and ice cold Bud Light.

Anyway, all that description is well and good and probably somewhat boring, but that's not the point of this note. The point of this note it to make fun of the place! Cause goodness knows I can, so very easily. There seem to be several requirements to be socially acceptable in a place like this:

Requirement number 1. You must own a Bluetooth Headset. I swear, with the exception of my family and a kind-eyed, bearded, old man off to my right who looks remarkable similar to one jolly old Saint Nick, everyone here has one! And I don't care who you are, unless you are driving a car, you look absolutely retarded talking on a Bluetooth Headset. Especially when you're just standing there with your hands in your pockets. Goodness me. It's like these people purchased the headsets just because they were expensive.

[This is not a picture of Joseph, although he is displaying something that is completely taboo in this place, a Push Pop. It is a picture of the man behind him, with the Bluetooth Headset in this ear, simply to validate my point that everyone here has one (don't ask questions). Note for the future: I need validation.]

Requirement number 2: You must be dressed like you are going to an expensive restaurant or to a stuffy old art show. Clothing items such as basketball shorts or hoodies are punishable by dismemberment or death. Funny side note 1: I'm dressed in basketball shorts and a hoody. Funny side note 2: if you buy a shirt with an interesting (read: ugly) pattern at Wal-mart, no good. If you buy a shirt with an interesting (again, read: ugly) at Barney's, you're in. Ah, capitalism and brand-name labels.

[Me, soon to be maimed for my unsightly attire. As it turns out, I am approximately one hundred times as comfortable than one hundred percent of the people here. Boo freaking ya. Ironically, the look on my face is remarkably similar to the looks on the faces of many a person in this lounge as I walk by. Such looks were responded with hearty winks and cheesy smiles. See if they try to oppress me again.]

Requirement number 3: you must be on your laptop at all times. I can't really make fun of this one without appearing hypocritical, but I'm going to anyway. Come on people, get off the net and join the human race (I first typed that "humor race". I might like that better). Talk to your travel companions! Meet someone new! Smile back when I wink at you! Okay, I'm done with the hypocrisy.

I'm really enjoying writing this note from ground zero of pompousness. No joke, I just looked up and a fifty or sixty-year-old man, Mimosa in hand, gave me a withering glare. Get off your high horse, you pansy.

Point is, this place is stuffy. And it makes me feel like a grungy ol' rebel. Which is a feeling a don't entirely dislike. I just can't wait until we get to Amsterdam. From what I've heard, their lounge is even nicer. And as we all know, Europeans are even better than Americans at snobbery.

[The Business Class Lounge: Where your drug habits are facilitated.]

[The Business Class Lounge: Where even the fake flowers in the bathroom look more ostentatious than me.]

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