Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Desperatly seeking an activity at 39,000 feet

We have just had our lunch, well, they called it a lunch but Brenda and I find that these things are always more of an activity than a lunch. I will explain.
The very fact that we are so excited for them to start the in-flight service proves that we view this as as an activity and not lunch. We know it is food, and though we are absolutely positive we will not like any of it does not quell our excitement. There isn’t many things to do sitting around for 25 hours, so any distraction is welcomed.
But before the real activity gets here, they come by with a drink cart. Now at home, my drink selection varies between lemonade, water and sprite, sometimes tea. But since I am bored out of my mind, I never order the ordinary.
“Tomato juice please.” She hands that thick red substance to me. “You wan Sal and feffa
“Salt and Pepper? Sure why not?” This sounds interesting. The fact that I probably won’t like pepper in my juice only makes me even more interested. “Good, an activity.” I think to myself.
I found out that pepper doesn’t stir into tomato juice with much ease at all. The little black bits have tremendous floatation properties and the stir stick they provided for that purpose was planned perfectly for the “activity.” It is aerodynamically designed to pass through liquid without so much as causing a ripple. I had nothing else to do so it became my mission in life for the next 15 minutes to sink each and every one of those little black specks. They were determined to float, but I was more determined to blend them evenly throughout that beverage.
I was glad Brenda was asleep because she would not have understood the importance of this activity. I felt eyes watching me and looked around. An elderly Asian man one row back, across the aisle was watching and I suddenly saw myself from outside eyes.
I had my tongue protruding out the corner of my mouth and I was hunched over my little tray, and had been that way for much too long. I smiled at him and he didn’t return the favor. Cabin fever is an ugly thing I admit but I had to do SOMETHING.
I am happy to report that I was successful in spite of it all.
I took a few sips of my very well blended concoction and confirmed what I already knew, I didn’t like it. I don’t know if it was the “feffa” or if it was the thinly sliced lemon wedge that kept trying to sneak into my mouth when I took a sip. Even though I did not like the taste I came away from the experience with a measure of satisfaction. We have another flight from Tokyo to Houston and since it is a whopping 14 hours long, I think I will enjoy that activity on that flight as well.
Then the big activity is shortly following the drink activity so I am alert and eager.
I already know what they have to serve but before I tell her what I prefer, I wait so that she lets me in on the whole experience.
Herro. You wan pish or beef? Da pish have rice and the beef have noodle. Wa you lie?”
“I like beef please.” In my sensory deprived condition, this is absolutely riveting drama. I eagerly watch as she takes that tray out and begins to add all the various “activities” to the tray. For the briefest of moments I forget that I am trapped in an aluminum can at 39,000 feet with about 20 more hours of travel time ahead of me. My painful behind briefly loses its preeminence because I now have an activity.
Whoever designed these Japanese meals really knew what they were doing. Everything is packaged individually for our added recreation.
My first activity is to get the silverware out of the industrial quality packaging it is in. The first thing I try to do is to push the knife up through the plastic and thereby creating a weakness in the plastic from which, my experience teaches me, it will easily tear from there.
I am sad to say that I had underestimated the craftiness of these Japanese people. I am used to opening a bag of potato chips in the States and if you weren’t careful, the bag would just keep ripping all the way to the bottom. Not this stuff.
That knife was made of stainless steel but I could not get a good enough hold on it to get it pushed through the plastic. So I tried the next familiar tactic. I bit a small tear in the side of the bag and then proceeded to tear it along the minor incision I had created with me teeth. No luck there. This was turning out to be a great activity.
The plastic was stretchy and surprisingly stout. I looked over to see how Brenda was doing with her activity and she already had hers out. “How did you do that?” I asked impressed.
She showed me that on the other end, there was a flap that was folded over and stuck and all you had to do was peel it back and walla, that activity was finished.
I won’t tell you about the activity of trying to spread rock hard butter on surprisingly delicate bread but kept me entertained for a while.
The next container was a real puzzle. I never did figure out what was in it. I saw raisins and corn, but there were these vegetables that had eyes. I looked at them, and they just looked back at me. There was also a single piece of vary pale meat sitting beside the vegetable with eyes, and for the life of me I just couldn’t identify that either. In fact, I am not sure it was meat at all, come to think of it. But with the vegetable keeping watch, I decided not to try it.
I opened absolutely everything. It was great. I opened and studied every package trying to figure out what the activity was with that item.
By the time I handed that tray back it defiantly looked like it was an activity for a very bored person.
Oh, no, they are telling us to put everything up, because there is turbulence ahead. After hearing about the NW flight that had such a bad experience over Japan.
I had better heed the warning. That is an activity I can do without.