15 December 2011

New Zealand Chronicles | Anticipation

The actual flight was remarkable in its unremarkableness, which is exactly what I needed.

Air New Zealand boards (once the rich people are in place) from the back of the plane. I swoon in the face of efficiency. No zone numbers or group assignments. The people in the back of the plane get on first, so as to not block the aisles. Brilliant.

Scoff-inducing.
I snuggled into my window seat, arranged my in flight gadgets and scoffed at the provided headphones. I've become an aural snob thanks to a Christmas / birthday present from my mom and stepmom. You know those people who have their own two prong airplane adapters? If you know me, the answer is yes, yes you do. 

All that was left was meeting my row buddies. A small, girly part of me hoped for some Kiwi eye candy. My larger, practical side recognized the potential for disaster. I was dressed like a slob on the comfortable side. I was also bound to sleep with my mouth open at some point. Thirteen hours is a long time to try and stay cute. And at that point in the day, it was an impossibility.

The middle seat went to a Texan. I knew he was Texan before I asked. He was on a 13 hour flight with his (teal) shirt buttoned & tucked. He was wearing jeans, boots, and a belt with stars on it. If he'd had a cowboy hat, I'd have guessed Oklahoma or Arizona. The Texan (from Houston, specifically) was (say it with me now) in the oil industry. He was being sent to work on rigs for three weeks. He was hoping to be done in two. I didn't realize companies still had travel budgets. Then again, do oil companies have budgets at all?
The aisle seat went to a Japanese guy (I think) who lives in the states. He travels a lot for work, but was heading to New Zealand to go hiking. He said his wife prefers cities and shopping. So when he wants to have an outdoor trip, he meets a buddy and goes hiking in New Zealand. Single serving friends are fascinating. 

Together, we were a row of solidarity. We chatted, but not too much. We got up to stretch at the same times. We didn't kick or have any personal space conflicts. It was really the best I could hope to get. And there was even more. 

Breakfast.
There were movies / shows / games / music. There were pillows and blankets. There were meals. There was wine. And it was all free. I know. Free is not exactly accurate, since the flight was expensive. But let's remember I can't even get a short stack of Pringles for free on a $500 flight across the country.  I paid more than thrice that for this trip and got two, delicious, low sodium meals, plus beverages and entertainment. I'm also positive there was more storage and suspect more leg room than on any flight in recent memory. Did I mention my checked bag was free? Because it was. It's as if Air New Zealand doesn't know what air travel has become. I have no plans to tell.  

I'm sure you, as a reader, are ready for me to just get there. You want to read about the beaches and the people and the experience. You may even be frustrated a little bored with the minutia that has essentially been packing and boarding a plane. I sincerely hope you are. The journey was tedious. Just as, at this moment, you assume I have amazing stories to tell, I (pressed up against my window), knew adventures were waiting. I could force them to happen no more than you can force me to divulge. Dues had to be paid. I watched a movie and still had ten hours to go when it was finished. This is anticipation. And I think it's an essential part to appreciation.