Monday, July 7, 2014

Budd Joins NIMBY Nation

OK, I admit, the real villain is United Airlines, which puts the seats so close together even in business class. It's the situation.

But still. Let me tell you what happened yesterday.

As background, I have to say that I haven't been very sympathetic with San Franciscans railing against the influx of the techies. Yes, the rents have gone way up, and my cousin Allison and her roommate found it very hard to buy a house because the selling price kept being so far above the asking price. I didn't quite get the protest against the Google Bus, because I figured that UCSF has dedicated busses, and there are other shuttles, and I figured that having a dedicated bus just made other transportation less congested. And after all, tech was what has been powering the Bay Area forward all these years, what makes us prosperous.

In these unsympathetic thoughts, I erred, as I found out yesterday in row 4 of the United Airlines Business Class flight back from Philadelphia. In row 3 in front of us were two of the above-mentioned techies, I have to think. The Asian girl was in front of me, the white boy with stubby beard in front of Ann. As soon as we took off, poof! Their seat backs went back as far as they could almost in our laps, even in Business Class. Other people in other rows seemed to understand the predicament that UA had placed us in, and moderated their recline, with the exception of one heavy blond lady with too much makeup in row 3 on the other side. But most people understood.

In this situation I naturally paid some increased attention to the young people in row 3. My little lady had her legs crossed yoga style with her laptop resting on everted knee to everted knee. Her back and the back of her seat made a 45 degree angle, so it wasn't completely clear how necessary her intrusion into my knee space really was. Although she had on a dirty sweatshirt that read “California girl” - not clear who would wear such a sweatshirt – and some nondescript jeans, I think I remember, I did notice a very big rock on the ring finger of her left hand, very big. Very big. Quite a sartorial combination.

She went through her email for hours and made a phone call or two. She looked about 17 years old, so she was probably 26.

Her husband looked about 28 years old, and looked pretty much as you would expect. He lounged with legs akimbo much of the time, and actually read a book, but I couldn't see what it was. Then he attacked his cell phone for a long while. As he climbed over his wife to go to the bathroom he bestowed a quick kiss on her, although it looked like something he was just trying to learn to do casually.

It doesn't help that United Airlines sucks so bad. Crappy movies on offer, and they all run on their own schedules, not yours. When Ann had to get out from her window seat, I was happy to grab the seat in front of me and shake it a little, but Little Miss Big Rock didn't deign to notice that we couldn't get out with her rearward seat back thrust. She was too happy sitting like a little fucking princess.

So, now I think the techies are like Euro-trash. Or maybe like the princes and princesses of a conquering army. I say, fuck them, and let's trash the Google Bus. Tax the hell out of Twitter. Little shits.

OK, call me NIMBY.

Also, fuck United Airlines.

Budd Shenkin

1 comment:

  1. Such a vociferating torrent of vituperous abuse! As someone who has never, ever ridden in business class— never having been a businessman—I can only guess at your discomfort. Coach class, I thought, was more crowded. But you've corrected that misconception. Thank you for that. And next time take the train. There you will find an occasional Amish, but probably no techies. dm