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THURS 2nd SEPT : AIR INDIA AGAIN

After we reached 30,000 feet I couldn’t understand why I always said “Never Again” after every Air India flight. The flights are cheap and the food (curry) is great. The other lesser known benefits are (a) that the staff treat you like a paying customer;(b) there’s very little entertainment which forces you to try to sleep the red-eye to London (Who wants 14 channels of censored/shortened films that wouldn’t likely end up on your Netflix queue anyway?); (c) they serve booze free – two bottles of red wine at a time; and (d) amongst the global representative population of economy class you can find pretty fresh faced college girls sitting in the row in front of you excited by the expectation of Big Ben.

The trouble started sometime after I put my book down and put the eye caps I had kept from another airline on. The noise of the excited row of college girls stopping me from falling into a deep sleep could have been excusable if it wasn’t for the tall wiry fellow standing before them at the space made by the exit door. He looked like a young Jim Carey with a determined look in his eyes. Determined to snuggle down with the girl sat diagonally from me; just right of the plump on in front of my seat. “Yes, I took up acting when I failed by SATs,” he told the girls and the rest of the plane. “So I did some ads for a year then I went into some serious acting.” The girls squealed and asked for a performance.

Even the mild mannered West Country lad sat beside me who had been scared to try the food was shaking his head. It was evident that Carey Jr was going to be the 14 channels for the girls tonight. His first demonstration of his ‘serious acting’ was ‘I’m A Little Teapot’. The girls loved it. For a moment I wondered if it was girls he really was interested in but then sleep took me.

I was woken from my red wine knockout by the same lad singing a lullaby to the girls as a baby cried in the cabin in front of us. The lights were out by now but the glow of the EXIT sign showed his wiggling about like an Indian dancer.

The girls clapped. This wasn’t on. People want to sleep. He started to chat excitedly to the girls at a level that was maybe for the benefit of somebody of poor hearing at the back of the plane.

I wondered what to do. I thought of Davo who I’d be seeing for a beer in London – a Great British complainer: jump the queue/line and he’d be barking at you for long enough to turn you violet; drop some litter and he’d stop you and march you to the nearest bin. In fact he’d carry you to the nearest bin,

I wasn’t too sure the physical approach would work. I was on a plane. I had eaten a curry. Oh, and Davo has to go to therapy.

Cary Jr started to sing again. “Do you think you’re loud enough, mate?” I called out but he didn’t hear me above his voice. The young West Country lad woke, looked around and then slept again.
“Oi Mate!”

Carey Jr froze his stare on his favorite girl and dropped to his knees. His head hid in the poor girls lap as he feigned embarrassment. All the girls broke into a silent titter.

I was about to put my eye shades back on when I noticed that the girls were trying to sneak a look over their chairs to see who ruined their fun and upset poor Carey. They tried to turn their heads like meercats again. I pushed my head right forward to the back of their chairs with my eyes just peeping over. Wide mad eyes. This will freak them out I thought.

The scream was pretty loud when you consider it. All the cabin lights came on, the seat belts sign came on and I swear the plane wiggled as the captain was shaken from his mid-Atlantic nap.

The kind ladies who served me food and wine didn’t look so kind when they asked me for an explanation. A chap in a cap came down too and the look on his face reminded of the time Tony and I got our passports confiscated by the captain of a ship to Holland when we were teenagers.

Tony, myself and a few other lads were visiting Jonno who had managed to get a university term in Amsterdam. We were all excited by the prospect of no good in the ‘Dam and by the fact that mad Tommy had missed our boat and wouldn’t be getting us arrested before we got there. Tony had somehow got into an argument with a steward turned croupier and the said croupier launched a flying foot through the air at the end of a rather effective martial art flying kick. We crapped ourselves when the captain talked to us and took our passports and said he’d consider whether he’d send us home when we docked. Looking back I don’t think he would have had the authority but we were only 18 then and a little impressionable. In the end we got our passports back and we had our fun in the ‘Dam. Mad Tommy got there too – after a melee in Immigration. Another story in another journal.

Anyway, so when the chap in a cap told me that anymore trouble I’d get arrested I didn’t believe him. I was too tired to try to explain what had happened. I don’t know, I had quite a big audience but they weren’t on my side at this moment.

We all settled and even Carey Jr returned to his seat. The kind ladies gave me one last look over and then one said to the other, “Bad things happen to bad people.”

As if, I thought.

September 2, 2004 in Diary | Permalink

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