That old Class Divide…

Because I can...

Right now I’m middle-class – at least as far as BMI is concerned. I’m not quite lower-class: I have a silver card so I can get into the business lounge at Heathrow, but I’m not quite upper-class either: my company has bought the cheapest ticket it can to get me back up to Aberdeen. So here I sit in limbo, knowing I’m not as good as those with a blue boarding pass sticking up out of their shirt pocket, but at the same time knowing I’m WAY better off than the plebs, sitting down outside Gate 8A in the airport equitant of a bus stop. Only without the smell of wee.

My line manager, however, is sat opposite me in the business lounge, reading a ‘Daily Telegraph’. The boarding pass sticking out of his pocket is Blue. Of course. But here I am, clinging onto my middle-class slice of business lounge access with a tenacity born of… well, sheer bloody mindedness I suppose. His pass is Blue, mine a kind of dysentery brown. He’s drinking fresh orange and soda, I’m on the sauce. Red wine in a glass the size of an eggcup with a brandy chaser. All free from the business lounge bar. God alone knows why the wine glasses only come in ‘tiny’, you can pour yourself eight fingers of Gin in a pint glass, and top it off with vodka and whisky, if you like. But not the wine. Mind you, I suppose I could always decant my wine into another glass, something bigger and more tumbler-ish, but that would be letting the side down. Damn my middle-class mentality. If I was upper-class – my blood as blue as my boarding pass – I could probably get away with such behaviour and be seen as roguish. But I’m not, so I’d probably get sent down, with time on for bad behaviour.

Is it too late to announce a revolution?

The flight back isn’t too bad I suppose. No delay leaving Heathrow, and it’s getting to the point where I’m not flying home in the dark. At least not all the way. Instead the BD 676 races the sunset north, loosing long before we’re anywhere near Edinburgh. The dappled autumnal tones slipping into colder blues and violet.

This would all be well and good if the woman in the seat in front of me didn’t insist on reclining the bloody thing. It’s claustrophobic enough sitting back here in cattle class, without Madame Stinky-Pants making what little space I have even smaller. And she doesn’t even sit back! Instead she spends most of the flight hunched forward over her free copy of the Evening Herald while I sit sideways on, trying not to breathe too deeply, ‘cos there’s no room.

But help is at hand: a nice, smiley French lady working the back end of a drinks trolley. My request for a large gin and tonic is met with a blank stare. I repeat my, not unreasonable request, and the gallic smile grows wider. And returns with a tin of orange juice and a tin of tonic. Close, but no cigar. It takes three trips back to the trolley, a consultation with the spiky-haired bloke working the other end, and a bit more smiling to come up with the requisite two plastic bottles of gin and two tins of tonic. I’m still squashed into a space the size of a Corby trouser press, but now I’ve got GIN!