Monday, June 30, 2008

The golf club princess

One thing I like about my airline is most of the people are middle class and normal. There are a few lower-class arses, and a few upper-class arses, but most people behave like human beings and have their heads on their shoulders. But now and then we get a twat.

On walks a teen with a Chanel bag and some ridiculous patent wedges on her feet. Of course she is in the front row so I have to look at her snotty mug. Her dad, a nice man, was sitting behind her, so after overhearing them discuss golf I had it in my head that she was the daughter of a professional golfer and was another obnoxious princess who's parents misguidedly pampered, and created a monster.

When we began to accelerate for take-off suddenly the we slowed way down. I remained calm, knowing that an alert must have popped up, and takeoff needed to be aborted. The captain announced that we had hit a bird, and needed to go back to the gate to have the plane looked at by maintenance. The little princess asked "we hit what?" and I said "a bird" she said "what?" and I said "a bird" and waved my hands like wings. She said "we have to go back because they hit a bird?" and I said "Sometimes they can damage the aircraft." I overheard her say to her dad "I have never seen anything like this" and I am thinking to myself "Oh really, in your 19 years of life & and flying you have never seen anything like this?" I could not believe this girl.

On the way back to the gate I see a tabloid in my face and she says, with a flat look on her face, "want a magazine?" This sort of endears me to her, she has shared her magazine, and I liked the way she was nice without the cliche smile. Stuff like that amuses me. I looked through it, and handed it back, and said "I'm done" she said "already?" and we both said something about liking to look at the pictures. She then taps a Korean lady across the row with the magazine and just sort of grunts, the Korean lady takes the magazine and her and her travel companion look perplexed.

We got to the gate and suddenly there was quite a production. A crane was brought in, and the plane was surrounded by maintenance men. Even a man in a tie was there. Apparently the DNR takes DNA samples now to track the killed birds. I had time to walk through the cabin with water and Pepsi, but the time at the gate was relatively fast, and soon we had the door closed and we were on our way. While walking through the cabin the girl lays down without a seat belt I say "Pardon me? Do you have your seat belt fastened?" and she sort of laughs and says "No" and I say "Could you please fasten it so we can get going?"

I don't remember anything special about the flight. The lights went out in the lav, but the circuits were reset, and other than that it was uneventful. Most people slept through it all, so I didn't have to do much for the service. Before we landed I did my final walk through, collecting newspapers, cups, and any other trash from the flight. I went to the galley and filled out my paperwork and sat down for landing. As the passengers were leaving I heard her dad say "You left some papers" and she said to him "I did it on purpose."

Of course I looked at the papers, and learned that she is a golfer. There was a list of potential endorsements, a workout schedule, and an e-mail from some jeweler endorsement saying "this is your allowance for the remainder of your contract, there is a lovely piece of jewelry for $14,000 we recommend."

I had a few thoughts. One, I was happy to see a snotty young girl who had EARNED her snottiness. I imagine she paid for that Chanel bag, not her dad, and that her sense of being the center of the universe was because of her own accomplishments, not because of a pampered childhood. This is refreshing, since I see too many girls who walk around with a sense of entitlement but having done nothing to earn it but be born to white, rich, doting parents.

The other thought I had was why in heaven's name did she leave confidential papers like that out? Was she trying to prove a point? Like I was mean to her (I wasn't) and look what a mistake I made? Was she showing off? Or was she just really sloppy about protecting her privacy? (Her e-mail address might have been on one of those papers.)

In the end I wish her the best. I thought she had an obnoxiously big head, but wouldn't most of us have one if we were given such attention at such a young age? I feel hope for her that she develops a normal, healthy sense of self, which is hard for young celebrities, and that she grows out of this phase eventually. I thought I saw a spark of a sense of humor when she offered me the magazine, I may have been projecting, but I choose to see it. I only want good things for women athletes, and I don't think it is fair to hold them to a higher standard of behavior than the very low bar set for male athletes.

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