The unlikely escapades of a gold member
He was not unfamiliar with cold “jokes” or the usual glary eyes when they spotted his name. John Beene was not exactly a name that passed unobserved. Yes, it did sound like that famous – or rather, infamous – actor, but when he was being called out, Mr Beene became a head-turner. You see, everyone was expecting to spot that awkward-looking fellow who starred in the homonymous British television series. But they never saw him. Instead, they found a rather short and bumpy middle aged man, who was growing bald from the top sideways and with wrinkles engulfing his eyes to the extent that he seemed exhausted from life itself.
But Mr Beene was quite an energetic man. And today he was super excited.
He was traveling first class.
No, of course he couldn’t afford it. He had spent almost all of his adult life working at a family pharmacy that was passed down generations, thus was used to the home economics of saving, depositing, and only allowing for short (but sweet) luxuries. His nephew, however, was recently hired in a leading airlines company. And as a promo stunt, combined with some discrete manipulation of customer data, he managed to secure his uncle a gold membership card with a free first class trip. To Thailand.
So there he was. Mr Beene, whose times flying could be counted on one hand, was now seated on the very first seat of a huge Jumbo plane preparing to skid to the other side of the world.
He was prepared for the luxury. He was even looking forward to it. But how much is too much luxury?
Once the plane doors closed, the stewardess, dressed in a clean pressed white and orange suit with a small cap clipped tightly on her gel-smoothed hair bob, offered him a welcome drink. The champagne tickled his nose and he jolted slightly in his seat. As soon as the plane took off, she returned with a huge smile and a wet hot towel in preparation for his lunch. A menu soon followed. Mr Beane was dumbfounded. Last time he travelled, he remembered a stale sandwich poorly packed being literally thrown at him. And that was it. Now, there was a selection of four-course meals.
They were still piping hot when they arrived; the steam and the aroma filled his nozzles and built up his appetite. Was he surely on a plane in mid-air? There were restaurants he had dined at that were not even half as good as this.
The meal was to be eaten using stainless steel cutlery. The drink – anything he chose – was served in crystal glass on his side. He had all the arm and leg room he desired and could stretch and move around to his heart’s content. Compare this to the stuffed, cramped, if-you-flinch-I’ll-punch-you-without-meaning-to economy class just a few rows behind.
Heck, there are people who travel like this all the time? Thought Mr Beene, who was trying to act all normal and accustomed to this treatment, but he couldn’t find the damn tray to put his five-star food on. Is there a secret button you need to push?
There we are striving to make ends meet. Counting pennies to get through the month. To pay bills on time. To get the kids through school. To be able to go to the beach during the summer. To buy a few gifts for Christmas. All whilst becoming adept at mental calculations. And then there are those who don’t need to do all of this. Who don’t need to worry if they run out of money, because they know they won’t. Those who have others doing the hard chores. Who even have help for connecting a couple of cables, let alone everything else. Those who find it natural to go on ski trips to the snowy Alpine slopes during the winter, and indulge on the sandy Caribbean shores during the summer. Those who never really have to work for anything. Those “upstairs” who see life a lot differently than those “downstairs”. Such is the class chasm between business and economy class. As is in real life, a refugee risking their very life in hope of a (brighter) future will always experience, live, and know life so vastly in contrast to what an upper-class elite bred into wealth and power will. The former will even travel hidden in the back of chock-full trucks illegally crossing borders in the night; the latter will travel on private planes, driven by chauffeurs and guarded by suited security men.
You see, there are some who have money and are raised as “born-elites” having it all easy in life. And there are others who only have emotions, and are left wondering where the heck they hid they food tray in first class…