Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer. Matched betting


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Space Traveler

By Milt Abel | August 21, 2011

| August 21, 2011

Space Traveler

I read somewhere that the early astronauts where crammed into the Gemini space capsules like the last piece of a child’s rudimentary wooden jigsaw puzzle: the entire three-state west coast as a single component could settle into only one place properly, the same for Alan Shepard. My mind drifts to thoughts of astronaut ergonomics as I sit in my coach seat on a U.S. Airways flight from San Juan to Philadelphia. I might have a little more room but it isn’t much more, remove the space suit and our seat space is probably a wash. At least those early spaceman weren’t saddled into facing a first class section; watching cosmonauts just ahead getting free booze, warm food, and cheerier attendants.

On my flight they have drawn a curtain between coach and first-class. I can see perfectly through it, so it is symbolic: mosquito netting keeping out the pests. It makes me think of the kind of fabric you’d see on a bridal veil, a gossamer shroud metaphoric of chastity, something by the groom to be hoisted for a penetrating kiss. The veil on this flight is nowhere near as sexy; it separates those on this plane from the haves and the haven’t as much.

I wonder if the sheerness of the fabric is to promote envy and increase first-class sales. We can see the small bowls of warm, roasted nuts being passed out while we have to wait without any service, sat on our haunches, like the family dog squatting near the dinner table. No exactly like that; if something drops it’ll probably stay on the floor, but if I was to jump up there I might get a rolled up newspaper swatted at me -or an inflight magazine.

Some people have never ridden in first-class. It’s better than riding in a limo; that other elitist mode of travel. I thought a limo was exotic and exclusive, until I was actually shuttled somewhere inside one, then you realize anyone could do this. But first-class on a plane isn’t like that, the service is noticeably more attentive, the drinks are made for you and served, the food too; that’s something I’ve never had done for me in a limo. Plus there’s the guilty pleasure of knowing people just a few feet behind are not enjoying all the lovely things you’re enjoying. Perhaps in my next limo ride, if there was someone who needed to go to the same place running along just outside, I could see them and they could see me, I’d enjoy it more.

When I ride in first-class, and I’m headed for an overnight stay in a hotel before I join a ship, I usually take full advantage of the open bar. On this this trip out to join the Serenade of the Seas in San Juan last Sunday I got plenty lubricated. I admitted to myself this past Sunday that I’m a maudlin drunk; not a lascivious a drunk, or rowdy. I tend to spend my sentimentality on grand themes as well; mysticism, the nature of reality, and wisdom; all the while listening to Pete Townsend or the Rolling Stones very loud in earbuds. An example of those thoughts? I wrote this a couple first-class rides ago…

“All truths wait in all things” -Walt Whitman
”It’s all too much.” George Harrison
“Give me a second.” Milt Abel

I thought that was funny, and profound when I wrote it. But I was also drunk, though I shared it with a friend recently and they thought it was funny too.

Right now, as I look at the thin veil separating me from first-class, it doesn’t seem as funny and profound.

I suppose you have to be in the right space.

Topics: comedy, humor, travel | No Comments »