….or so proclaims my sagacious colleague, Glen somewhere over Mumbai, who is sitting next to me in Lufthansa Business Class from Frankfurt to Bangalore, and who has amended the statement to include a full Ipod, and the latest book by David McCullogh.
The entire business class thing is very embryonic. I’m sitting in some strange teutonic carbon-fiber pod designed by Recaro, the Italian bucket seat designer, long given up on the 30-page operators manual for a seat which delivers a non-sensual massage, can play first run movies (I watched Zodiac, the latest David Fincher, and found it awesome save for the 7-point text at the end which tied up all the loose ends and was completely illegible on the seatback LCDs) and contort itself into every attitude except prone. I avoided the temazepam for the JFK to Frankfurt leg, instead doing my usual contortion act in a seat which is, without fail, always one inch too short for a truly stretched out nap. I went into twilight zone mode, woke up feeling like my sinuses had been raped, with my one monocular contact lense warped and dried like a scab on my poor right eye.
Quick German frushtuch (there are umlauts in there somewhere) of dense rye bread, cervelat and cheese, a couple drops of rewetting solution in my eye, and I was ready for leg number two to Bangalore. Frankfurt was Frankfurt — under-airconditioned so IÂ developed a thin sheen of airport terminal sweat which was improved by four coffees and anxiety over the contents of my Blackberry. I even got to tick off the ladies at the coffee bar with my atrocious self-taught Schweitzerdeutsch (“Gruzi! Ich mochte ein bier bitte!). Germans do not tolerate beginners in their language. They let you get all wound up and then correct the phelgm-hocking sound you’re supposed to make when uttering the word “mich” before they launch themselves into flawless condescending English. The German language is best explained by Mark Twain in Innocents Abroad, but I explain it by pointing to Yoda’s sentence syntax.
Since I am arriving in India around 11 pm, I decided not to sleep on this long leg but to work and save the big sleeping pill for some point after midnight, when I am down prone on a hotel bed and assured of six hours of uninterrupted shut-eye. I worked the entire flight thanks to in-seat A/C power, whittling away at an inbox with 1200 stale emails in it. There is nothing like replying to a three-week old email to prove email bankruptcy, and when I get to the hotel and replicate my Notes account, about 75 emails are going to go spamming out of this laptop to bewilder people from our CEO to the summer interns.Â I was able to get the total message count down to 755, which is an improvement but not a victory.
My Ipod died in Cotuit — probably the victim of too many recharges and Apple’s enlightened embedded battery program. So I have had to make due with a quite excellent collection of Grateful Dead soundboards I had forgotten on my hard drive given to me by Jim Louderback, the EIC of PC Magazine a year ago in Augusta. I’m particularly glad to discover the 6.15.76 Beacon Theater show as that was the year when I went on “tour” for the first time and had the sublime experience of seeing six New England Dead shows in the magical month of May (I saw my first show in August of 1976 at Hartford’s Colt Park). So, a new Ipod is needed. I live on the thing when I use the erg and fly. The noise cancelling headphones have been a godsend in shutting out my seatmate in row 14, the Italian IT consultant who has his SecureID random-number-generating fob on a bracelet and who fell asleep when the plane was taxiing in Frankfurt and has been making cartoon snoring sounds like Curley in the Three Stooges ever since. The man is doing that “snark-phwee-phwee-phwee” noise with flapping lips and everything. The stewards are impressed and roll their eyes at me whenever they walk past trying to get me drunk on good wine which I decline in favor of wasser mit gaz.
As far as books go: I read Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men” in three hours. A waste of a perfectly wonderful book (soon to be a movie by the Coen Brothers) that deserved to be enjoyed. McCarthy, I have concluded, is the master of conclusions.
Camera is charged, bandwidth rocks in Bangalore, so I’ll try to post through the week with photos of Bangalore, the Lenovo offices, and whatever food gets put in front of me. I am heartened to read that Bangalore’s cuisine is essentially my favorite (and hardest to find in the US), vegetarian with an emphasis on dosas and thalis.
Three working days here — topic is agency relationships, production, and our new marketing hub — then back to the US on a 1:50 am flight on Friday. That is sure to be special, especially since I am consigned to coach for the Bangalore to Frankfurt leg. So, I shall enjoy business class while it lasts, which is about one hour.