The term “rich bitch” doesn’t exist for nothing and I know the reason why. Certainly you can ‘fake it till you make it’ and project an image of living large, but it isn’t until you actually live large that you rightfully adopt the bitch part of it. I gained this new insight on life a couple of weeks ago when Matias and I were upgraded to First Class on our four-hour flight from Kathmandu to Qatar.
It started in a typical third world airport, all hot and rundown, as we sat in the waiting area about to board a shuttle bus to the plane. A confused airline attendant walked around and stopped at a 40-something well put together guy and bumped him up to first class.
“Hey! How did you just get to do that!?” We leaned over and asked him.
“Ha, I have friends in high places,” he chuckled.
“Good for you, Asshole, we have friends in high places too,” I mumbled under my breath, and glancing at Matias hissed, (“Where the fuck are our friends in high places, babe?!”).
Soon after the attendant stood confusedly next to us and Matias reached out to him saying, “Can you put us in first class too?” The attendant looked at Matias and down at the ticket. “I can’t, there are already names on these tickets. Matias pulled the guys hand down to read both his and my names on the tickets he was referring to. How it happened, we didn’t know, and we gave a wink to the smug 1st classer across from us.
Uhh, Is This Complimentary?
Let me start by saying I have never flown in anything except for economy, or as a very wealthy friend once referred to it, ‘cattle class’. We sauntered two steps onto the plane to fully reclining seats 2A and 2B, giving a knowing glance to our new friend (no longer enemies) and instead of plopping down in the seat as one usually does, I gracefully lowered myself into my La-Z-Boy throne. I was already gushing about how nice it was when the beautiful, British accented flight attendant asked if we’d like anything to drink.
To my complete horror and embarrassment Matias asked for an Everest! (The regular ol’ Nepali beer) to which the heavenly angel replied that alcohol could not be served before takeoff, but “Would champagne be OK?” ‘Yes’ we replied in unison, ignoring our previous understanding that champagne contained alcohol, as I secretly cringed and asked Matias if somehow they issue the bill at the end of first class flights or something. I was so scared and so lost regarding this high-class protocol, plus I’d be totally broke if I had to pay for this shit.
After she bestowed the bubbly upon us, I turned around to see not one but three gossip mags for my plane riding pleasure and squealed with delight almost jumping over Matias to grab them.
“Calm down, maybe you can wait to get them until after we takeoff. Let’s make sure we don’t get thrown off first.” Matias wisely proposed.
I thought he was right, I mean we were already making a scene. Matias pulled out his camera and took about 100 pictures of us sipping champagne and acting so white trash in first class. I was wearing a 10-year old thrift-store tee (it’s been 10 years since I bought it, I have no idea how old it actually is) and jeans while Matias was wearing ripped up army cargo pants and a dirty Nepali shirt. We re-reflected and once again decided it was safer to lay low until after takeoff, then they couldn’t throw us out, or worse, banish us to economy class.
Our hostess brought an embossed leather menu showcasing the flight’s dinner course options and asked us to make our selections. I shrunk back in my seat trying to shoo away the aroma of the four greasy Nepali samosas I stuffed in my bag to feed us on the flight. How was I supposed to know we’d eat grilled prawns with pineapple salsa and vegetable rice instead of dry bread and weird pasta?
Then we made a pact to consume as much alcohol as we could because we were sure it was complimentary. Our last little sparkle before lift off came in the form of a jersey knit pouch containing socks (good thing, ours were crusting over), a very high quality jersey knit eye mask (it’s too big for my head, I can only assume it fits the mold of typical first classer: middle aged dude), some earplugs, and a fold-up brush.
I ordered red wine and Matias finally got his beer, but it didn’t come without another hot red flush of awkwardness. The hostess poured the wine FOR ME TO TASTE. On an airplane. I couldn’t. I had to pull myself together and wave the tasting part away telling her to just pour.
From then on the alcohol literally flowed. That mixed with the altitude led to some straight up drunken fun. They served food with mini salt and pepper shakers, something we don’t even have at home. So Matias squinted his eyes and slyly pocketed the shakers. When they served us nuts we marveled at the already peeled pistachios! Who, but royalty, gets already peeled pistachios? We couldn’t eat anymore, but Matias, once again turned a mischievous eye to me and dumped the nuts in our newspaper samosa bag…to bring home to Jorgo!
I was more than a glass of champagne and three glasses of red deep in when I had to use the toilet. Did you know even first class toilets are superior to their second class comrades? I walked into a very well kept airplane bathroom stocked with complimentary toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving razors, and shaving cream. Plus regular cream and herbal soaps which I lathered on myself until I realized the smell was repulsive and took a mini shower.
Chasing The Dragon
Departing the plane was like leaving a spa — high on life and feeling like kings and queens. But oh reality, you were so cruel to us weren’t you? We floated like warm little doves into the bright, sterile airport of Doha with bursting bladders and a damn strong will. We were intent on making sure we got first class again.
That plane ride was a transformation for us. We started as gushing, self-conscious white trashed travelers and left as wasted, confident, pretentious and demanding assholes! We marched through the airport insisting on being upgraded…for FREE like last time! First we tried to break into the VIP lounges, so obviously faking our tickets by putting the old stub on top of the new ticket and pretending that was our proof of admission. It got a bit humiliating when the woman behind the counter actually reached over and the fake ticket stub fell off the ‘economy class’ ticket. I acted like nothing happened but died inside.
You’d think that would be enough to resign us to sitting in the normal people’s waiting area – oh no. We marched to more VIP lounges and at least two ticket counters demanding both upgrades and entrances. Unfortunately, were met with firm and cold refusals.
Hey Smashed Samosas, Remember Me?
The plane ride to Beirut, which is usually never full and often very pleasant, was a nightmare. I’m sure there was nothing particularly different about it except that we had tasted the forbidden fruit and wanted more! We wanted fruit salads, fruit loops, fruit jams, fruity crepe fillings, we wanted it all and got nothing. To be honest, I don’t know how I can possibly travel in cattle class again knowing full and well how incredibly MIND BLOWING First Class is.
And now I get it. I get why really rich people are assholes. How can you possibly deign to lower quality when you’re used to the best. It’s hard to go back. But, alas I am not in the position to afford such luxury so hopefully I’ll lose my asshole ways, just forget all the good times, and learn to love life as a common person again.
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