The raw November weather is upon us; I’m thinking about fluffy socks and even fluffier pajamas but instead have been shlepping around the city doing errands.  Does anyone else wonder how many people end up in the NYC emergency rooms on rainy days with bleeding eyeballs from those damn golf umbrellas people carry around? There oughta be a law–it’s not a golf course, people, it’s a really crowded city sidewalk. Your right to dry shoulders ends where my face begins.

But I digress.

I have a new “make this all go away” fantasy now; my very own Calgon-take-me-away moment. It involves…business class. Business class, where just a few short days ago, as I sat in my recliner grading papers, a lovely flight attendant whispered up to me and said “May I bring you a drink and perhaps a snack? What would you like?” And lo, there appeared on my tray table a flute of champagne (yes, some students did get slightly higher grades as a result of my little afternoon aperitif) and a small plate containing two perfect dolmas, a small tomato stuffed with tzadziki, a dollop of herbed cheese, and a bite-size morsel of almond cookie.

When I was finished, the plate was whisked away, the flute was refilled, and on we flew.

Our little business class bubble extended all the way out to the airport, where we were dropped off directly at the check-in gate, someone took our checked luggage from us, and someone else waved us through security into the business lounge.  See that picture up there, of all the empty desks simply waiting to receive passengers? That was the scene Sunday morning when we checked in. And this picture is the scene the previous Sunday, when we arrived:

Please note the shiny floors and lack of grumpy passengers.

Now, okay, yeah, there are pesky little questions about things like workers’ rights and exploitative labor practices in the UAE, okay, okay, but then again…don’t we have those here, in the States?  Tell me again about how workers are treated at meat-packing plants?

When we landed at JFK on Sunday night, however, the business class bubble popped so loudly it hurt my ears:

That would be the line, 15 rows deep, to get through customs. No gentle flight attendants, no shiny floors, no happy workers.  The hellishness of our re-entry experience only ratcheted upwards (downwards?) after we slogged through customs, through the crowds to the bathroom line. Waited in the bathroom line, came out, turned the corner and saw…

a woman lying on the floor in a huge pool of bright-red blood.

We don’t know what happened to her, but whatever it was happened in the 15 minutes we were waiting for the bathroom. There was an EMT squad standing over her and people crouched cradling the woman’s head, and a security guard, bellowing “there’s NOTHING TO SEE people, KEEP MOVING” over and over. Liam insisted that the woman on the ground looked pregnant, and I sent up a little prayer balloon, hoping that this poor woman hadn’t gotten off some international flight and began to miscarry in the nightmarish world of JFK.

So yeah: huge crowds, bloody injuries, giant traffic jams on the way back into the city, and now it’s been pouring rain for two days.

Is it wrong to want to just live in business class? I don’t even have to get off the plane. I’ll just keep criss-crossing the Atlantic. Could you bring me another glass of champagne? And maybe some fuzzy socks?  Thanks so much.