Friday, January 09, 2009

Viva Las Vegas


So there’s guy in the middle seat on the flight from JFK to Las Vegas. He’s maybe 35 or 40, tall and thin, nobody out of the ordinary.

It took him a long time to settle into his seat—he was wearing a long overcoat and scarf, and these he removed carefully and folded and stored them in the overhead compartment—but he seemed nothing out of the ordinary.

Still, there was one weird thing: he insisted on getting a blanket and a pillow from the flight attendant before take-off. He was nice about it, but insisent. How many business people worry about blankets and pillows on an 11 a.m. flight to Las Vegas?

Anyway, the flight took off only a half hour late, and headed down the New Jersey coast before turning west, and the guy was reading some business papers when the flight attendant said we’d hit cruising altitude and we could now use approved electronic yadda-yadda.

And that’s when the guy in the middle seat ordered his first Bloody Mary. He sipped it and read some papers and sipped it and read. And when it was done, with the blanket on his lap—kind of like a grandmother in a rocking chair—he fell asleep.

After nodding out for an hour or so, he woke up. And ordered another. Along with a Heineken. He read some more pages from a document marked ‘privileged’ at the top, then nodded out again, head down, hands clasped together on the blanket, dead to the world.

Then there was another Heineken and another Bloody Mary....


So now it’s almost five hours after take-off and we’re coming in south of Moab, descending slowly towards the desert. People are putting stuff away, talking, and just generally getting ready for the inevitable prepare-for-landing routine.

Except him. He’s asking the flight attendant if he has time for another Heineken. She says sure.

It’s his seventh drink of the flight, including four Bloody Marys.


Off the plane now, I see him standing in a corner of the gangway, putting on his coat and scarf and gathering his bags. Most of the others getting off the plane are yukking it up. Not him. He looks like any businessman, at any airport, adjusting his tie and straightening his collar. I feel like the worst kind of voyeur.

Viva Las Vegas, indeed.



Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up


© 2008 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews.
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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

You left out the part:

And then he went to the car rental agency, picked up a car, drove off and killed 3 people. Airlines should be sued for providing so much alcohol to passengers.

tom brakke said...

I'd love to know whose "privileged" information is in that guy's hands.

PhillipCharles said...

That much vodka and beer at 35k feet and I would be absolutely hammered, yet this guy proceeds through the day like everything is normal. Well-written, colorful and somewhat unsettling reminder of the disparate personalities among us in the world.

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Anonymous said...

Hey maybe the guy was headed to a funeral....give him a break.

Nick said...

So 7 drinks over 5+ hours? And he gets a couple hours of sleep. Big deal. Maybe he doesn't like to fly. Air travel is not awesome when you occupy the worst seat on the cheapest kind of flight.
And I love the "all drinking leads to driving" fanatics or teetotalers who can't comprehend those of us that choose to have more than 1 glass of wine from time to time.
Maybe its time to plug your earbuds into the almighty Iphone and MYOB.
BTW, AT+T service is poor in those areas formally presided over by GTE. That would include much of Northern Michigan where you vacation and I own a cottage. Thus, I do not own an Iphone. But I've spent plenty of time playing with them at the urging of cult member/owners.
It wasn't going to change my life.
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

7 drinks over a 5 hour span is really not that much.

Anonymous said...

7 drinks in 5 hours doesn't sound so bad. It's the napping in between that's strange.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon - maybe he had a car waiting, and if he drives drunk it's his fault not the airlines. We don't (quite) live in that much of a nanny state quite yet.

Gil said...

To be fair, he WAS stuck in the middle seat.

George Soros said...

I was the guy next to you on the plane. Even with all my drinking, I can still count better than you. I had five bloody mary's, and one was a double!

The Log said...

Dude should have his seatback and tray table in the upright position when he drives too. What happens on the plane, should stay on the plane.

Mark said...

>>... there’s guy in the middle seat on the flight from JFK to Las Vegas... He’s asking the flight attendant if he has time for another Heineken. She says sure.... It’s his seventh drink of the flight...<<

It could be worse...

He could've been the pilot!

Anonymous said...

Well at least none of the previous commenters are guilty of jumping to conclusions...

Anonymous said...

Bit judgmental there Jeff. Unfortunately I have to fly a lot for my job but I really don't like the experience. I think I'll always be afraid of flying. My standard M.O. is to have a few drinks before and during the flight (as long as I don't have a meeting to go to at the other end). Takes the edge of the experience and doesn't affect anyone else so where's the harm?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that was a good laugh. Although I agree with most comments that 7 drinks in 5 hours isn't that much. Drinkers know this, non-drinkers don't.

Jeff Matthews said...

"A good laugh" is not what this was about.

As for being "judgmental," there was no judgement expressed in the piece whatsoever. Sadness, but not judgment.

JM

Anonymous said...

Sadness, Jeff, is the code writer in India that works for the large Telcom I work for; he works from 8am EST to 11 pm CST all for the grand sum of $8.00 per hour.

Anonymous said...

Half the reason I read your blog is for a good laugh. Please don't turn all-serious on me.

Kaleberg said...

The rule of thumb is one drink, about a tablespoon of ethanol, takes one hour to process. Seven drinks in five hours leaves two drinks in the guy on landing. (Processing starts shortly after the first sip.) By the time he gets his bags and picks up his rent a car he'll have about one drink left to process. That's well within the legal blood alcohol level of 0.8%

Still, it takes all types. You might as well extract as much fun as you can out of flying.