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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A New Adventure

I have been living in Asia, for the past year or so. It has been a good experience, although fraught with distraction. The past months have been fruitful, business is exceptionally good.

And I have been in a relationship. It started roughly a year ago, although at that time it was a friendship, not to scoff at such an important and rare thing (for me). Later, it became a fragment of an idea for a relationship, perhaps unworthy of the term commitment, maybe more of an experiment and proof of concept.

But I get ahead of myself.

Let's rewind several weeks to the beginning of a new adventure…

I was in first class. Usually I find myself not enjoying the service, since I spend most of my time asleep. This was one reason why I got rid of my long-haul jet and went fractional (which has severe limitations on international travel): I am mostly asleep anyhow. Mind you, there were other reasons: my entrepreneurial sensibilities balked at the cost, I disliked paying for the crew lolling about (even though I did anyhow), the permitting was particularly complex, I had lawsuits with the management companies, I disliked the publicity it generated to land a jet in certain Asian countries, and, well, I had heard nightmare stories of certain Asian FBOs and their aviation fueling shenanigans. Oh, yeah, and although my morality was undoubtedly becoming stronger by (mostly) defeating crazy temptations (like flying to the Burbank FBO just to hit Pinks one afternoon), I thought it an even higher cause to donate that $30 million or so to some charities (Note to readers, there are some great depreciation and rollover rules for private jets. Complain to your congressmoron. Um, on second thought, don't.)

Of course the reason I would always reconsider was that damned US airport security. Or a bad sleeper seat. Most airline seats were only slightly more comfortable than the floor of my plane.

But I digress.

So I was in first class.

I was awake, and considering whether to take a Lunesta™, or to watch a movie, work, and later chemically repair my jetlag at the destination. Either way jetlag wasn't a big deal going in the westerly direction, but it was a more efficient use of time to sleep on the plane than at the destination.

This particular airline was bucking the recent trend toward older staff and crappier service and had a complement of two quite attractive and attentive young flight attendants. They were very eager to please, had only two first class customers to lavish attention upon, and were enormously impressed by the fact that I had been on a VIP list to have come from the chairman of the airline. I had an escort from the airport, through security, into the lounge, and to the airplane itself. The other first class passenger was quite curious, and I caught him trying to peek at my luggage tags, which are generally hidden when I travel, but he quickly fell asleep.

...and then there was one.

Recently I had been avoiding full airplane meals in favor of some simple noodles. (Yes, I know those are carbs.) My recent approach to securing noodles was to go to the First Class Lounge of my chosen Asian airline, find the Asian version of cup-o-noodles in their charming styrofoam packaging, and stuff a few of them into my carry-on. Then I'd ask a stewardess to prepare it on board.

This time, as I mentioned, I was constantly hounded by a fawning guide puppy. Seriously, if she had a tail it would have been constantly wagging. So I felt somewhat self-conscious about snagging the noodles. Thus I arrived on board bereft of a supply of noodles. When I mentioned this however, I was notified that they had some on board. So it was that some time after takeoff, unusually amused by this request, one of the stewardesses made me some from their supply in back. While she was doing this, the two were sitting on their own in the little side nook near the restroom, doing stewardessy things. I passed by to change my clothes in the lav -- I had some nifty all-blue sleeper wear, courtesy an earlier trip on Lufthansa, plus unmatched slippers -- and on my way back one of them asked me what I did.

My subconscious must have been in an odd mood. Without hesitating, I replied, "I write about and compare the sexual skills of women in different countries." This elicited a surprising amount of giggling rather than the expected offended look. Which I thought was a good thing. So I took my spicy ramen and started eating while standing there, trying to look cool in my all-blue sleeper wear... plus unmatched slippers.

The first question they asked was where I published. I told them it was on the Internet and it was anonymous. I mentioned it had a few racy bits and cocked an eyebrow, trying to look suave and debonair in my all-blue sleeper wear... plus unmatched slippers.

(I did not give them the URL, as they knew my name.)

One gal, let's call her Cha, was particularly bold and asked in which country I had enjoyed the best sexual partner. I asked her what country she was from, and then told her, "Unfortunately, not that one. Well, at least not yet!" And then I smiled and sauntered back to my seat, trying to look nonchalant in my all-blue sleeper wear... plus unmatched slippers.

All this was remarkably uncharacteristic of me. I usually don't start conversations. But I'll get to the point of this soon, I promise.

I went to sleep. When I woke up, a few hours before landing, Cha served me a meal, and then effortlessly bent down to chat with me in that eye-popping manner they must practice endlessly at the Sexy Stewardess School (okay, it's really Sigmund's Fantasy School of Sexy Stewardesses in Tight Dresses).

Cha asked if she could feel the fabric of my sleep wear (competing airline and all), which I permitted. A touch. Small talk ensued. At one point she confirmed with me that I was staying at a particular hotel in a presidential suite. Apparently they were going to take care of the transfer for me. But she let drop that there was a good bar there.

I realize: Hell, I'm flirting with a gal, something I wouldn't have thought myself capable of a year ago.

At some point before her legs got sore from bending down to talk to me, I felt there would be an inevitable conclusion to this encounter. I prepared myself for my response. And sure enough, predictably, Cha asked me if I had time for drinks at my hotel.

And I told her, "Sorry, no. I am on my way to get engaged."

Word to the the wise: it's a great way to get out of a sticky situation.


Blogger Karate Kid IV said...


All Blue Sleeper Wear ...Plus Unmatched Slippers - that's clearly the secret sauce that's reeling the stewardesses in.

10/12/2005 5:56 PM  

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