Saturday, April 17, 2010

The plane truth


Elements by Pants

The ash from the Icelandic volcano that has grounded flights across Europe in the last few days has proved just how resilient the rich and famous are. John Cleese booked a cab and three drivers to convey him from Oslo to Brussels even though he says he's in no rush to get home. Whitney Houston braved the perils of a flat Irish Sea on a three-hour superferry trip to Dublin to sustain the vain revival of her career. Hurrah to you both.

What celestial people will do to meet their phantom obligations when money is no object stretches the boundaries of mortal credibility. A gold star with chocolate bar must go to Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg who fired up his iPad in the VIP lounge of a New York airport in order to prevent his country from descending into the potential chaos occasioned by his short unscheduled absence. PM Stoltenberg - Le Pants d'Or au Chocolat will be winging its way to you just as soon as air corridors are reopened.

As I've suggested before on this blog, the notion that one can work remotely is an obvious fiction fabricated by software providers. Ground a few planes and it becomes immediately apparent that no one of any consequence can function unless they are constantly travelling to somewhere where they need to be in order to work. This would seem to suggest that even the most powerful people cannot choose to work wherever they happen to be. What hope is there then for the rest of us?

News from Britain suggests food shortages are feared if plane traffic doesn't resume soon. This cargo-cult fantasy appears to be based on the possible unavailability of some exotic salad items for tonight's dinner parties. You would have to really worry if all your food was being brought to you by plane. Relax Britons, you have home-grown spring crops of purple sprouting broccoli, Savoy cabbage, radishes, sorrel, watercress and Jersey royals on your doorstep. If you're lucky, there might also be asparagus. Phone Jamie if you need help. I think even Nigella uses Deb for her potato cakes. That could be a useful survival tip.

It is awful that people's holidays are being ruined. Don't think I'm unsympathetic. Grandpa Pants worked for a domestic airline so Sis Pants and I spent half of our childhood on planes. We were early experiments in remote parenting. I've been on more than a hundred flights and spent several hundred hours in involuntary transit. On only a couple of occasions have I experienced civil war breaking out as I landed. I can recall only two landing-gear botherations that required lots of fire engines to attend. One of these was when Sis Pants and I were very young and I seem to remember there were lots of guilt-gifts involved.

I'm not a diva or a comedian or a prime minister whose prescence is supposedly indispensible, but I do know that being suspended in a strange place is not necessarily a bad thing provided you have a decent book and adequate local currency.