David - The First MLOG January 2010
  • I’ve created a new word – mlog. It’s an email log. Like a blog, but by email instead of posted on a website. It’s also hard to say: it rolls off the tongue like a gob of spit at a Chinese restaurant. I like it. I hope you will too.

    I don’t like United Airlines. They are like a real airline, but without the character. Sort of like a half-assed relative that ditched too many classes in college and then got busted for DUI just before his final exams and flunked out. Nice guy, but you try not to spend too much time with him because he brings you down.

    Compare United to British Airways: When the staff at British Airways are on strike, you know it. Flights are cancelled, and if you’re lucky enough to get on a plane the staff are surly and spit in your coffee - while they are handing it to you. You know exactly how bad the service is. But when they are happy you are happy too – everyone gets free drinks and they coo at your children as if you are old friends dropping by for an evening of hors d’ouvres and wine.

    Singapore Airlines is the opposite end of the spectrum. Their staff are so good they both teach and manage Switzerland’s finest finishing schools. The stewardesses are far too good looking and have far too much poise and self esteem to be porn stars. They talk to you as if they have been working for you for years as a personal assistant. Actually, they sort of work with you, to make sure the flight goes well. It’s quite surreal.

    Today on United, I’m in coach, thanks to Microchip. And I’m in a middle seat, regular coach not economy plus, thanks to some half-wit at United that decided a plane full of passengers bound for Asia didn’t need to leave Phoenix on time. “We’ll just squeeze them on the next day’s flight – we’ll find room.” They could have cancelled the flight and had a surly captain shout “fuck you too!” but they didn’t have the balls to do it. So, I’m on the plane, and they go through the interminable announcement at the beginning of the voyage, setting out rules and expectations, do’s and don’ts, have’s and have-not’s. Then they do it in Japanese, quietly so as not to disturb anyone. It takes an hour. Why are Americans so rule-driven? I mean, if I need to pee I’m probably not going to count the number of people in line. I’m just going to get up, join the queue, and hope that the couple in front are planning on having sex so that I can count them as one instead of two. British airways: the rules change depending on the mood of the crew, adding to the excitement of the trip. If the announcer makes a mistake you overhear the stewardess near your mutter “dickhead” under her breath. Singapore: your in-flight life coach will ensure that you are guided on a path well away from any areas of concern, so announcements really aren’t needed.

    One rule I object to? $6 for a drink. Like I care: here’s my P-card, can I open a tab? “barkeep, another Mekong please * ”. So the has-been Japanese porn star (like, from the sixties) takes my order. She gives me my wine and I flash the ole’ JP Morgan and she says “Oh, she made a mistake, drinks are free.” What? She didn’t make a mistake! I’m sure that Ted wants you to charge me $6. You just can’t be bothered running my card. I would have added a tip! (Update: halfway through Love Happens – I’m ahead $30, plus tip.)

    Here’s another little fun reminder of how United can’t even perform badly well: I board early (premier executive) but I’m the only one in my cabin when I get there. So I take my time unpacking and getting my meager belongings situated in such a way that I cause the least disturbance to my fellow pathetic coach-bearers. It’s my upbringing. But I have a nice coat, cashmere, so I ask the guy if he can hang it up for me. They do that in Business. He says “No, just put it on your bag.” Asshole. After the cabin is three quarters full (aisle is packed with imbeciles) he comes back, taps me on the shoulder, and says “There’s a coat closet but it’s all the way in the back. Do you want to put your coat in it?” Really? Do you know what you just said to me? British Airways: would have laughed at my original question, possibly making a joke about how the coat closet was where they stored the alcohol. Singapore: lady would have held my coat tightly to her heaving chest as she lovingly stored it, glancing coyly at me as she walks away. Coat would have smelled of expensive heaving chest for the next two weeks.

    The man next to me, by the window, looks a bit like Michael Moore. He has a large boil on his temple that seems to follow me no matter how I move my head. He’s snoring, quietly but annoyingly. If he had been awake he could have read this and I never would have written it. British.

    Since the movie choice is so poor (Love Happens, 4 Christmases, uh something that I forgot but I’ve seen) I have planned ahead and brought some movies that I haven’t seen and the extendo-battery, fully charged, in addition to the one my laptop came with which I think it an 8-pack of Chinese C-cells. And I remembered my own headphones this time so I don’t have to catch aging porn star head boil imbecile head lice. Singaporean head lice are much nicer.

    * if you’re not a Refreshments fan then this went over your head.
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