Skin Deep 230

Skin Deep 230 15 October 2013 230

A little international travel can really broaden your horizons. Let me see if I can tell you what I learned this last week in less than the 700 words I have here.

Last week, I flew to Colorado for the Paradise Gathering. It’s a long way—particularly when the clock keeps going back in time the more miles you travel. I went with my lovely colleague, Sarah, who some of you might know from our events. She had an iPod with her that her boyfriend had given her: this is known as “a lovely gesture”. Said iPod came “pre-loaded” with the soundtrack to just The Lion King which is not really known as a gesture of anything except terror, and in my house, means you would have to do all the crap chores for at least a month and get nothing but half a Twix for your birthday. Personally, I think he stole it from some kid in the street and couldn’t wipe it clean, but that’s just my opinion.

Sarah is also a vegetarian. This means that while the carnivores were tucking into hot slops masquerading as airline food in a metal tray, she got handed half a roll with one slice of tomato and one slice of cucumber in it. It was so heartbreakingly pathetic that the guy sitting next to her handed over his cheese panini so that she would stop crying. Seriously, U.S. Air have got a lot of work to do when it comes to service. They seem more concerned with making sure you’re not listening to The Circle Of Life while landing (because apparently that can bring a plane down) than seatbelts and explaining clearly where emergency exits are. Simply waving your hands around like you got your fingers trapped in the car door is not helpful. I know none of us really watch what they’re doing, but the last thing you want on a long flight is a waitress who thinks she’s a copper—but I guess that’s not half as bad as a copper who thinks they’re a waitress.

These things are all about managing expectation. I expected a comfortable professional flight and aside from getting up in the air and back down again with the wings still on, that’s not what I got. When you fly to the States, you kind of expect ‘home of the brave, land of the free’, but what you will actually get is frisked like a dime-store hooker and asked if you have anything that can be used as a weapon on the flight… such as The Lion King soundtrack perhaps, but nobody found that particularly funny when I pointed it out at security.

Coming back is just as bad. Every single time I come in through immigration, they always say “Why are you at this counter? Why didn’t you go to the fast counter because you’re a UK citizen?” Well, maybe if you put a sign up that said ‘British? Come to this counter’, I would—along with the 400 other people that are also holding your immigration queue up you fools.

It’s a weird world out there. Most people are just getting by and doing their thing, but because some people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, the world is falling apart at the seams.

Topically-ish, the office just took a call from a guy who decided he has to feed his family better and will be a tattooist. When told there was a lot more to it than hanging out a sign, his reaction was that he would simply buy his supplies from eBay. That’s just what the world needs, right? Another person with the balls to call themselves a chef and hand you a roll with a solitary slice of tomato on it. “I think I’m pretty good” is not a licence to do anything. Drive a car, tattoo, make airline food… nothing. It’s OK to be ‘pretty good’ at say, taking a bath, cutting your own hair and watching TV, because it doesn’t matter—nobody cares.

But when you want to get in the sandpit with all the other kids, that roll had better be looking damn tasty. People will talk when you’re not there and those people will say—“he calls himself a chef, but all I got was this roll with a slice of tomato on it.”


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