Perhaps my ears need syringing but I could swear the woman next to me on a recent flight from Malaga ordered a Tampax Snack Box with her G and T. Unable to think of what it should have been, I allowed myself to run with this for a while. All neatly encased in Cellophane packets, it would be what? Two Tampax, two Lillets and a dolly-sized roll of emergency loo paper? Or perhaps two cream crackers, a rectangle of cheddar and a Tampax just in case? By the time she’d paid for whatever it really was, I’d got distracted by my book again and forgot to look.
But it may not be my ears. When we fly we all pretend (some are better at this than others) it’s an entirely normal situation to be in. Sealed, we hope securely, in an apparently light-weight outer casing, all that separates us from a death-drop onto a French village is a layer below where our cases have been slung in on top of each other alongside the occasional dog or cat in a state of pulse-racing terror or drug-induced stupefaction.
Fastened inside the cabin (‘loosely’, in case of unexpected turbulence), we are accustomed by now to the whooshing sound of the air con that does such a great job of re-distributing every virus currently inhabiting any of the 150 of us. So could it be the whooshing and the thinner cabin air at such altitude that together create that sensation of being one-removed from reality?
There was a steward on this flight who was, well, so camp that I almost wondered whether the environment had got to him and he was putting it on. I expected him to wink beneath his clown-like thickly painted eyebrows and say “Actually, I speak quite normally when I’m not flying”. “Would you like a Kit-Kaaaaaat or a Twiiiiiiiix with that sir-ir?” “The bacon bagueeeeete will be a 10-minute wait, alriiiiiiiiiight?” he trilled. But milking it or not, I couldn’t help warming to him.
Then he made what seemed like the oddest announcement as we began our descent: “Please have any rubbiiiiiish ready for collection, as this aircraft will now be going on safaaariiiiiiii”. Really? On its own? Or carrying passengers on a new EasyJet route to Namibia then? It was only after I’d played this one back in my head several times that I worked out it was “ta Faaaaroooooo”. Oh, to Faro then.
Could all this cabin fuzziness be the reason why cabin staff seem to be trained to add “do” as often as possible to all their announcements? “Welcome to EasyJet and on today’s flight we do have a wide selection of sandwiches and snacks.” “We do carry some tempting brands of perfume and cosmetics and today we do also have the special Air Bear for the little ones”. Did I ever say you didn’t?