Class Act

I have become convinced that if it appears that you have money, the world wants to make you an alcoholic.

First off, understand that I don’t have money. Well, okay, I have resources to a level that 99% of the people who have ever lived on this rock would envy, and that means I am in the normal mode of people living in the First World in 2018. I have a nice house, but not too nice, I have disposable income, but not too much, and I’m able to help out family when they have the need, but to a limited extent.

So we all live relative to our time, and while my resources may make the other 99% of humanity that’s ever lived quiver in envy, let’s realize that they’re mostly dead, and my existence is relative to the other people living in the US at this time. So while my work duties may take me to places that are above what my actual economic existence might suggest, I don’t have money in the sense that people who really run this country and these companies have money.

Anyway. If it appears that you have money – and sometimes, it appears so for me, even though I don’t – the people around you want to pour fermentation down your gullet. Let me explain.

I don’t fly business/first. Except when I do. (I know that even just alluding to “I fly” might take me above a certain median of lifestyle appearances, but WORK WITH ME HERE.) When I do, it’s because I’ve hit a glitch in the system where they’ve upgraded me, or because a client has a very generous flight policy.

A while back, I boarded a flight to another continent. I was gobsmacked, because I found myself in business/first. As it turns out, when you’re in that section, they use actual linens, porcelain plates, metal utensils, and glass glasses. The nice lady comes up and says, “Do you want a drink?”

Now, I generally don’t drink on planes because I don’t want to pay for it. (Apparently, what stands between me and having an Issue is my cheapness.) But this one was complimentary. So I said, sure, I’ll have a scotch. I had barely drained it when she came back with, “Would you like another drink?” And kept going with that.

When food was served, she came back. “White or red wine?”

I eventually had to give up, recline the seat, and snooze for rest of the trans-oceanic trip before I got too plowed to be functional.

After a while – okay, this also is not a problem – I had enough airline miles, courtesy of clients who paid for them, to get to the airline’s hoity-toity club access. Well, I took advantage of it, of course. Who wouldn’t? Rather than getting a bag of trail mix from Hudson News at the concourse, you can go to the Inner Sanctum where there’s a buffet of food, coffee service, even a shower if you want it, and…

Alcohol. Of course. And it’s pour your own.  After one or two of those, I had to retreat to a far corner of the room and work on my travelogues before I got too hammered to find keys in the correct rodre.

Then you get to your hotel. Sometimes the company that sends you gets you concierge level / executive club access, just so you can have free(ish) food and a quiet place to hang out. And if they don’t, depending on the country and the hotel prices, you might consider it worthwhile to just go ahead and pony up for it yourself.

So you go to the club room for their happy hour, and they have munchies and meal-type stuff set out for you, as well as…

You guessed it. Alcohol. Pour your own, across a wide variety. After doing that once or twice, I had to stagger to the far side of the club and watch news that I didn’t understand just to be sure I could find my way back to my room.

I hear you saying it now. You’re saying, “Hey, free alcohol is not something people generally complain about.” And you’re right. People wouldn’t complain if they got their tap water for free, either. But if you leave the tap on and flood the house, you’ve still got an issue even though the water’s free.

I’m just saying that if I wind up 80 pounds heavier and with a drinking problem, I’m blaming society. I really don’t have the money to justify all this free booze.

— Grandpa

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