I’m flying from Nashville to Washington DC on my way to teach at one of the most loving retreat centers in the world: Wisdom House in Litchfield, CT.
I’m flying coach on US Airways, and cannot help but reflect on the American Caste System. Six rows ahead of me are the Brahmins of the sky. These first class passengers have seats with cushions, while my butt sits on a rock-hard steal and plastic frame. My part of the plane is being buffeted by choppy air, and I fear I will once again face my breakfast. First class folks aren’t bobbing at all. I think their thick leather chairs are taking most of the impact, and they are oblivious to the fact that we would have a smoother ride if we were driving a Jeep Wrangler over a highway built of railroad ties.
Knowing that turbulence might send a bunch of passengers to the rest room, the flight attendant gets on the intercom to make it very clear to us that Second Class folks can have no access to the First Class toilet. It was the second time we were told this. I don’t know why they worry, the two Classes are separated by a curtain. It might as well be the Berlin Wall.
The stewardess just came by to pick up empty drink cups, and the lady sitting next to me complains, “My water was the worst water I have ever tasted.” The stewardess suggested it wasn’t the water but the ice that was at fault. Somehow that seemed to placate the woman. In Brahmin Class they are drinking Perrier.
I have never flown Brahmin Class. I don’t know if I would even if I could. I mean how difficult it must be to get on the plane first, sit in plush leather seats eating warm cashews and drinking Diet Coke, and have Second Class folks walk by you on their way to airplane Hell. I would feel too guilty. I’d keep offering to switch seats with these folks. I’d…. Who am I kidding?
By the time I downed the second warm cashew and licked the salt off my fingers I’d wouldn’t give the second class a second thought. But as I settled into a pampered flight to wherever, I would pledge allegiance to my fellow Brahmins and pledge my life in defense of my First Class toilet.
I can dream, can’t I?