I’m not sure how I felt about always travelling alone on these writing trips. Maybe I did feel a bit lonely. But, with my notebook in hand, I guess I did feel like my eyes were opening up to the world a bit.
‘Outside the window, a Boeing 747 eases into the sky as John takes a bite of the mustard chicken: not amazing, though made better by the accompanying glass of champagne. A man in old jeans and faded t-shirt walks past him. John watches him, disapprovingly, then checks the nearby TV monitor, displaying gates for Beijing, Calgary, Dubai. John wishes that he could start flying long haul, instead of all these short European hops.’
I did start to wonder if maybe these trips that I, and John, were dong were a sort of sexual substitute. I mean most of my friends have met someone and settled down and stuff. And maybe that sense of love and exclusiveness that they’ve found in their relationships is what John finds in business class.
And so, on the flight home from this business trip, I think John is offered a choice of hot smoked salmon in an onion sauce or lamb Lancashire hotpot. And hearing the steward recommend the hotpot to a fellow passenger, he opts for that. But a few minutes later, he starts to feel that maybe he’s made the wrong choice. He’d already had a lot of meat and potatoes in Prague. The passenger in the aisle seat chooses not to have any food at all, which John finds this a little weird. He can’t understand why anyone flying business class would not to eat the meal. He takes a sip of the Pommery champagne and his mind returns to earlier thoughts of what the hot smoked salmon in an onion sauce might have tasted like. And whether, maybe, he really should have gone for that.