Surprise, I'm In London*

I would like to preface this by saying that in the last 32 hours, I have had approximately one hour of sleep, and I think I am being generous when I round it up to one. This hour of sleep was broken up across two different airplanes anyway, so it doesn't really count. However, I am not hallucinating---though you would be forgiven for suspecting it---when I tell you I'm sitting in my room on the eighth floor of a hotel in London. I'm really here! At least I think I am. Although maybe it's just some weird Sideways Purgatory world and you won't find that out for ten more weeks.

(Ha! A joke for all the Lost fans! I am embracing the zeitgeist! Look at me embrace it! I am also, at this point, so punchy that I have passed punchy, circled back around it, and moved on through to uber-punchy. Hey, two German words in one parentheses! Shall we take bets on whether or not I can also work in "schadenfreude"?)

I am in London for work, and as part of that work I got to fly here from Chicago in Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class, which is kind of like if First Class and Business Class got together and had a baby but the baby looked so much like First Class that people asked Business Class if she was even in the room when the baby was conceived. Actually, on second thought, it's so fancy that I think it's more just like if First Class and First Class got together and had a baby, but the first way sounds more poetic so let's just go with that. 

Upper Class, in case you were wondering, is absolutely phenomenal. Now I confess, I have flown Upper Class before---for a weird and hilarious period between 1996 and 1997, my brother Tom and I were flying between New York and London a lot because our parents lived in Connecticut and we went to boarding school in England, and this really nice woman at the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk at JFK took a shine to us and upgraded us every time she saw us, which I'm sure was just totally appreciated by all the hardcore business travelers; a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old, imagine!---but the design is very different now and instead of traditional seats, they have these....these....pods.

After dinner, you go into the restroom and change into your "sleep suit"---basically a soft black pair of sweatpants and a black long sleeved V-neck---and when you come back to your seat, the flight attendant has made it up for you as a bed. WITH CRISP WHITE SHEETS AND EVERYTHING. You lie totally flat and it's kind of like camping, snuggling down for the night as the lights dim. Actually, it's kind of like a boarding school dormitory or a really fancy hospital: rows of sleeping figures, curled up under white duvets, the flight attendants moving silently down the aisles like wardens or housemistresses or nurses. I found it very therapeutic and comforting....but also apparently way too exciting ("I'm lying flat! On a plane!") because as hard as I tried to sleep, I think I only dropped off for about thirty minutes, and I've been awake ever since.

Also, you guys, there is a bar. Bar on the plane! BAR ON THE PLANE! Here is a really terrible picture of me sitting at it---please note that I had been up since 5am to catch a flight from San Francisco to Chicago, and also that this is about fifteen hours later and after one thirty-minute stretch of sleep but not the other---which I am only showing you because BAR ON THE PLANE!  Sadly, I did not drink at the bar on the plane (apart from a smoothie the next morning for breakfast, DO I KNOW HOW TO LIVE OR WHAT) but it was kind of just nice to know it was there.

Anyway, I have landed in London, where I will be for the next five days, so I hope you have a very happy Memorial Day weekend. Since I fear I am now actually in danger of passing out from exhaustion,  I will leave you with a conversation I had yesterday morning on my early-morning flight from San Francisco to Chicago, which went like this:

FLIGHT ATTENDANT, MOVING DOWN AISLE: Do you like tiny food? Do you like tiny food?

ME: Is she saying....what? What is she saying?


ME: Uh...

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Do you like tiny food, ma'am?

ME, FRANTICALLY: Um, I guess maybe...uh, baby carrots?

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: We don't have those. We have a breakfast snack pack for six dollars.

ME: Wait, what?

FLIGHT ATTENDANT, THROUGH CLENCHED TEETH: Would you like. To buy. Any food, ma'am? Any food?

ME: Oh! I thought you said......never mind. No. Thank you.

* This is kind of not really a surprise if you follow me on Twitter. Or if we are friends in real life. Or if I ran into you any time between now and a couple of months ago. Oh well. That was kind of a lead balloon. Sorry.

May 28, 2010

Well, I'm not any of those things in your postscript, so it was far from a lead balloon to this reader. And, pods on a plane? Who knew?! How fancy! Here's to a speedy recovery from that jet lag so you can enjoy all the work-related luxury treats :-)

Sarah Brown
May 28, 2010

I always eye those sleep pods so hungrily on my way off the JFK-LHR flight. I can never sleep on a plane.

Camels & Chocolate
May 28, 2010

Ahhh, I'm so jealous of you even though I'm flying FIRST CLASS on China Air in a matter of hours from San Francisco to Taipei to Saigon (thanks, SkyMiles!). Still, Virgin's Upper Class looks so fancy pants

May 28, 2010

Is it weird that the image of a bunch of people laying in matching black sweatpants and v-necks wrapped in white sheets reminds me of the whole Heaven's Gate Hale-Bopp exit?


May 28, 2010

OMG. can i have your job. PLS pretty please??

Sarah Ashley
May 28, 2010

That is awesome! I think the luxurious planes are starting to take after the cruise ships. Next thing you know there will be a jacuzzi, dance floor and flight attendents who will perform a musical on the plane. :P

Balkan Girl Down Under
May 29, 2010

One of my mates just left for London yesterday (which she follows up with a Contiki tour, and then a visit to Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia).

I am insanely jealous/envious of you both. Pah!

(Enjoy the trip!)

May 29, 2010

I wouldn't be able to get much shut eye on that flight either! such an incredible way to fly across the pond. Enjoy your trip!!

May 29, 2010

Looks so glamorous! And misunderstanding the flight attendant...had similar story with German coworker...he won a game a billiards and I joked claiming he cheated. He said, "No no, Jammaroos". Huh? "Jammaroos". I'm thinking, is that like underoos? Finally someone else clarified - GERMAN RULES. Oooooooooooh. duh.

May 29, 2010

Ha! That conversation reminds me of the time I went to Morton's steak house and the waiter asked if I wanted soup or salad and I thought he asked if I wanted a super salad and was all, well what's in a super salad? My whole family was so humiliated for me.

May 29, 2010

Bar on the plane?! Yes, and how! How do I get your job? I get to travel to exotic locales like Arkansas, and never first class.

May 30, 2010

I like to think that one of the self-important CEOs on your flight forgot to change out of his 'sleep suit' upon landing and went through customs in black cotton pyjamas. Take that, Bailout.

May 31, 2010

I don't know what's going to haunt me more... the phrase "tiny food", the pod-sleepers, or the kid with the funny eyebrows that needs friends (currently advertised all over your page).

Jun 01, 2010

Wait... does EVERYONE wear identical sleep suits, or were you just describing what you brought along to lounge in?

Having everyone wear airline-issued sleep suits is a little weird. And a little awesome.

The other awesome thing is having a restroom on a plane that is roomy enough to actually change clothes in. I would probably just stay in there for most of the flight, swinging my elbows around for the sheer joy of it.

Jun 01, 2010

Wow! I want to travel too! I'm working on changing jobs so that I can. Hopefully, this time next year we'll pass each other in the airport! :)

Jun 01, 2010

Those pods are sooo fancy! I love the lighting.

Jun 01, 2010

FANCY! I've never been in Upper Class! Also a bar! ON A PLANE! SO EXCITING!

You look better with no sleep than I look rested, my dear!

Have fun in London!

Jun 01, 2010

Are you secretly here for the annual Cheese rolling competition that happened yesterday?

Jun 02, 2010

I am now convinced that you are the "voice" for the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! He's so witty, just like you. I KNEW it! ;)

Formerly Gracie
Jun 03, 2010

I want to work where you do! Oh wait. I did... Hmmm :-P

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