I couldn’t use my laptop because they make you shut off all of your stuff on the plane when you take off and land.
No iPad, no Kindle, no iPhone, no laptop. No electronics of any kind. But my watch is electronic. So’s my pedometer. I think the difference is that you can’t be an annoying fuck with your watch, and that’s what they want to ban.
The plane had this little touchscreen in the back of the seat in front of me. You could touch it to order movies and TV shows and internet, all too expensive. It also had a map of the whole journey, updated wrong. It said we had 7 feet remaining in our trip, for the entire NY to SF run.
The little screens hooked into a computer or a bunch of computers running Linux. I know this because they had to reboot the system nine times, and each time, a Linux boot screen flowed with log messages that probably convinced all of old people on the plane that Chinese hackers were attacking us. I wanted to jump up and say “THIS IS UNIX I KNOW THIS” but I knew nobody would get the joke.
I flipped through the shopping pages. You could buy sandwiches or shop for crap you didn’t need, like golf clubs and Omaha steaks. I don’t know if they shipped it to your house a week later, but I imagine the Airbus didn’t have a cargo bay filled with overpriced perfume and roller bags.
I looked at every screen of the shopping center. We were #20 for takeoff. Also, I was starving, and there were five sceens of food that I could not eat anyway, because it was all like 100 of fat or whatever. The food they did keep in a cargo bay in the back. This Chinese guy next to me kept ordering tiny bottles of whisky, and they would bring them with a glass of ice.
One of the screens had a gold iPhone. It was $16000. Actually, it wasn’t an even $16000; it was something like $16472. Maybe they changed the price realtime to keep pace with the gold index. I clicked “more info” and it had a single, one-line description:
“Crafted by the finest artisans from 22-carat gold, a perfectly sculpted engineering marvel, the same size and shape as the familiar iPhone.”
That’s it. There was no spec sheet. I could not tell if it was an iPhone 5 or 4s or a Chinese knockoff or if it was even a working phone. Maybe it was just a solid gold bar made to look like an iPhone, that some douchebag could whip out and say “LOOK AT MY PHONE, FUCKERS! SOLID GOLD! 22 CARAT! I AM YOUR GOD!” Maybe it was candy. It is almost Easter.
Does a gold phone work better than an aluminum one? Does it collect fingerprints? Do you need to put it in a case? Is just the back part of it gold? Do they use a real Apple ™ phone and just replace the back part? When it breaks, do you bring it to the Apple store? How do they replace it, if they don’t sell gold phones? Did it have any special apps? Does it interfere with the GPS?
I needed answers, and I was now 40,000 feet in the air away from them. Should I call the flight attendant and ask? Do you get another page full of information if you click “add to cart”? I didn’t want to add it to the cart, because then if I added a sandwich later, I’d accidentally buy the phone too. But I also wanted to add 999 of them to the cart, so when my Visa company got a $16455528 charge to approve or decline, someone at Chase would shit a brick.
The little light went off, a beep sounded, and I got to use my laptop and my iPad and all of my other junk. When we landed, some girl a few rows in front of me started crying. The girl next to her looked really thin in a way that only rich women at country clubs do, and I think it was her sister or something. I thought the crying meant one of three things:
- Weird sinus disorder mixed with air pressure. Happened to me once on a flight from Boston with a head cold.
- Right when we landed, she pulled out her cell phone, and had a message from her boyfriend that said “we need to talk” or “it’s over” or “welcome to the world of AIDS.”
- Prescription drug addiction, something really high end, that only rich people have access to.
But then I thought, maybe she didn’t order the gold iPhone. Maybe she spent seven hours looking at the gold iPhone on the touch screen, thinking “I am worth it” or thinking it would make her life complete, that she would know that sitting on her nightstand, in her leather executive charging caddy (also for sale on the plane, only $199) was a new iPhone, except the exterior was finely crafted from a precious metal originally dug out of the ground by poverty-stricken African kids, or possibly sold for pennies on the dollar by some Glenn Beck fan on one of those Cash4Gold things.
Maybe as a child, back in the 90s, they didn’t even really have cell phones yet, except those giant bricks. And she saw one of those, and thought “someday one of those will run apps and be tiny and have a touch screen and play all of my songs. And the world will be perfect, and everything will be made out of gold.” And instead, the world is very imperfect. And flights don’t give you food anymore, even though they are seven fucking hours long, unless you buy them from a touch screen, $22 for a sandwich with like 100 of fat, and there’s global warming, and there’s a sequestering, and your boyfriend is texting you “welcome to the world of AIDS” and you’re addicted to some super high end painkillers that your Beverly Hills plastic surgeon got you hooked on, and nothing is right anymore, but maybe if you got that tiny phone that was a giant brick one time, and you got it made out of gold, it would make you forget everything else, and for just that one little object in your life, everything would be perfect.
Maybe her whole feeling of self-worth involved that gold iPhone, and she convinced herself that maybe if she sold her car and her baseball card collection as soon as they landed, she could swing the $16K. And after she argued it all out for 7 hours, staring at that touch screen smudged with grease from $22 sandwiches, when she pressed “add to cart” right before the plane landed, the screen said “SORRY – OUT OF STOCK”.
And then she got out her non-gold cell phone, called her personal concierge or butler or something, and found out that only this airline sold gold iPhones. Platinum iPhones, gold Android phones – they’re out there. But the gold iPhone is only available on Virgin America cross-country flights. She’d have to live her life with that hollow, empty feeling that a stock phone delivers. And she’d start crying, and then go jump off a cliff, maybe an hour later, because some stupid bitch with a roller bag about ten rows in front of her is taking a god damned hour to get up the aisle and keeps bumping the bag and turning it sideways on every fucking seat she passes, slowing down every other person on the plane.
Maybe I should get some of those Cadbury eggs, the easter candies, and pull them out of the gold foil, and wrap them around my iPhone case, and see if it makes me feel better as a person. Maybe there’s some homeopathic validity to it. Who knows.