I spent a week hiking in Wales. A week without a computer is pretty much unheard of for me. I bought a little notepad in the airport so I could write while I was on my trip. Confined so long to the purely up and down movements on my laptop, my fingers they were overwhelmed by the directional possibilities and took full advantage of the chance to run amok. They were drunk with power. I wrote a lot of this post on that notepad, and I can barely decipher it. My handwriting has degenerated to third grade levels.
I have included a few photos, but my photography insults the beauty of Wales. Its beauty most definitely should not be insulted (its food is another story).
I flew from Salt Lake to Newark, where the airline employees worked very hard to make sure we all had an authentic “People from New Jersey are really rude” stereotypical experience. They are paid to do this by the tourist board—on their own time they are all very nice.
I was informed in Newark that I was on standby and they couldn’t guarantee me a seat on the flight because they had oversold it. My simplistic understanding of commerce had led me to believe that my paying them an obscene amount of money for a seat on that flight, and their taking that money (no refunds) somehow entitled me to get on the damn plane.
After a New-Jersey-Board-of-Tourism-sponsored conversation with the agent I managed to get on the flight. An Englishman came on and had just stowed his carry-on when the lovely gate agent came on board and yelled at him to get off the flight. He quickly caught the spirit of how you should interact in New Jersey and began to yell at the gate agent. He was thrown off the plane.
His now empty seat (the only empty seat on the flight) had the most legroom I have ever seen on a flight. No seats or walls in front of it, just the opening to first class. As the steward walked past I pointed to the empty seat and said, “Excuse me, in light of my freakish size…” He smiled and said, “Sure, take it. But you’ll have to slip me a $20 when we land.”
Just as I settled into the seat the enraged Englishman returned. He looked at me in his seat, and at my now empty seat, muttered, “Bloody ‘ell!” and went to sit down. The whole plane was watching him now, hoping for more fireworks. I offered to switch back with him—it had been his seat after all.
He thanked me and said, “It’s just that I’ve got these long legs.…” He couldn’t have been more than six feet tall. A passenger next to him said, “I think that guy is taller than you.” Enraged Englishman looked skeptical, “What, are you a bit taller than me?”
I got up from my seat, my head almost touching the ceiling, and stood next to him. “A bit,” I said. I had over six inches on him. The entire plane erupted in laughter. With one last “Bloody ‘ell!” he conceded defeat and took my old seat.
I enjoyed the luxury of my seat until I took a good look at the first class section just a couple feet in front of me. If class warfare is ever to erupt, the frontlines will be where coach meets first class. It’s hard to be content with your lot in life when you are being fed peanuts in an uncomfortable chair and you can see someone a few feet in front of you in a gigantic electronically-adjustable leather recliner with so much leg room that the passenger in front of you is grazing cattle which he plans to sell upon arrival.
I fell asleep with my feet extending into first class, when woke up I found that they had wrapped a hot towel around my left foot and served lobster to my right.