Saturday, April 18

What I Learned On My Summer Weekend Vacation Trip to California

I learned that they now have wifi on planes. I am stunned to be blogging from 38,204 feet. If I seem a little lightheaded, you'll forgive me.

I learned that I don't think I remember how to play that dots game that I played a lot when I was little. I mean, I know about the dots, and the lines, and the initials, and the basic idea, but I don't remember whether you get extra turns when you get a square, and if so, how many.

I learned that the perceived length of flights is directly proportional to age and number of hot flashes, degree of turbulence, and the inclusion of a nap therein. In this case, the latter side of the question is "old, lots, way lots, and not a wink". You've got the data. Solve for x.

I learned that there are some very very kind people. I also learned that very very kind people are as few and far between as I have often contended. How did I learn this, you ask? Well, this is your lucky day, cuz I'm gonna tell you.

Phoebe and I flew out this morning on Virgin America (stop snickering). I was pretty excited about the cool planes and the wifi and movies and touchscreen ordering of food and all. (It is now verified as Genuinely Cool.) Unfortunately, Phoebe and I were not seated together. It's happened before, but I'd rather it didn't. So I went up to the counter (I also love online check-in), and asked if we could switch seats with anyone in order to sit together. The desk guy was really nice, and was literally moving people around like a Rubik's cube in order to make it work. He tried everything (it's a full flight). He even went so far (never saw this before) as to call up anyone who was traveling alone to see if he could do more juggling. He explained our situation to the people, and many of them were very kind about shifting. It still did not get us seated together, but we were closer.

Then, a wonderful woman stepped up to the counter, and said that she overheard something about a mom and child who wanted to sit together, and that she and her husband were seated together, but are both going to do their work, so they don't care if they sit separately. We traded seats with them, and it was done. She said she was speaking for her husband as well, even though he was off in the bathroom (surprise!), and when he returned he was every bit as laissez-faire as she was. Nice. They said they were on their way to their grandchild's christening in San Francisco, and if they were traveling with children or grandchildren, they'd want to sit with them to. Mensches. The finest kind.

She then asked (more than once) the ticket agent why they didn't call up couples and ask if they'd be willing to sit separately, and assertively expressed her feeling that that is precisely what they should do when something like this happens. He informed her that they do occasionally do that, but it is almost never the case that a couple is willing to do that.

So there ya go. Both sides of the coin. Yes, there are wonderful people in the world--generous, empathic, easy going, kind. And yes, they are just as rare as I sometimes hypothesize. It is unusual that I have an experience that validates both the idealist and the cynic in me. I love Buy-One-Get-One-Free days!


Audrey said...

OK--here goes:

1. Dots: 1 extra turn if you get squares, no matter how many squares you get (Watch out for the cheating child!).

2. Length of flight: 14.724792345 hours.

3. Lovely about the couple. Nice to know there are still some mensches out there in the world.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that couple sounded lovely. I have to admit that I wouldn't want to give up my seat with my hubs, but I would do it in cases like a mother wanting to be with her child.

Glad you had a good flight.

Jill said...

Okay. So I have a cynical side... but I couldn't help but wonder if this same heterosexual couple (or others, I might add) would adjust their seating if you had been flying with a female partner and your child and the request was for a family to be seated together.

Robin said...

Okay, Jill, but the thing is I wouldn't really be inclined to do that either. For two women, two men, or a straight couple. I would absolutely sit separate from my spouse for a parent to sit with their child, but don't really buy that adults can't sit separately (even if it is more fun to sit together), and switch off sitting with the kid.