Friday, November 15, 2013

A message to Friday-morning getaway-ers from Friday-morning left-behind Ian Crouch: "EFF -> YOU"


by Ken

Or, to put it less succinctly: "Godspeed, safe travels, and go to hell."

For the record The New Yorker's Ian Crouch is talking in his blogpost "EFF -> YOU" about the institution of the Friday-morning getaway --
where you use a vacation day to fly out of town for a long weekend somewhere. Perhaps you are attending some tangential career event, a convention or a meeting or a conference that's an excuse to drink in another city. Or maybe you are just short-term travelling -- visiting old friends, going to a wedding, making a quick there-and-back to your childhood home.
And again for the record, Ian has nothing against the Friday-morning getaway per se. It is, he suggests, a shining exception to the prevailing terribleness of "the contemporary white-collar job world," where "wages are stuck and nobody's hiring." He strongly suggests that he himself is known to indulge the occasional FMG, and understands its allure.
For the goer, nothing beats a Friday-morning trip to the airport, despite having to wrestle with the others making similar escapes. The crowd at security is buzzed with a prickly energy, the T.S.A. folks look extra grumpy, you've got that scratchy-stomach feeling of a too-early cup of coffee -- but, hey, it could be worse, you might be going to work. And -- because you are not at your desk, or navigating a commute, or despairing at the edge of your bed in the fall darkness -- when you settle in at the gate, waiting for the flight announcement, you are filled with a joy of such magnificence that it is as if a golden light has filled your sternum.
But at this point, Friday-morning getaway-er, you are about to cross a line.
You are happy, and that happiness becomes a physical compulsion, one that drives your fingers to your smart phone. You snap a picture of the airplane at the gate, and post it to Facebook: "About to set off for a great bachelorette weekend with the girls in Miami! CAN'T WAIT!!!" Or on Twitter you channel your brimming glee into a deadpan minor formula: JFK -> SFO.
"You think that you are playing it cool," says Ian, "but you are not playing it cool."
We, the earthbound, the desk-bound, and the disconsolate, can feel your churning delight. And, though we may be enjoying our own getaway flights in the near future, right now we hate you. Godspeed, safe travels, and go to hell.
Ian goes on to salute the enduring wonder of air travel, and appreciates that --
feelings like wonder are often too big to keep inside. We must share these feelings in order to mark them in time, and so we tweet them and we post them. Perhaps even today's astronauts, the most seasoned of seasoned travellers, strapped to their rockets, feel the need to reach for their Droids, to express the childlike thrill that they are feeling, poised for launch. EARTH -> SPACE, OMG!
It's at this point that Ian urges the Friday-morning traveler to get a grip on his/her "understandable exuberance."
Some airlines aren't making you turn off your phones anymore, so the temptation for a last-minute takeoff tweet will be even greater. But Friday mornings can be rough. So, please, getaway travellers across the country, spare your friends and followers their envy.
Ian's plea: "Exercise the restraint expected of the favored."

He offers this simple counterproposal:
Instead of sharing your good fortune online, may I suggest instead turning to your neighbor in seat 12-B, and, after getting her attention away from her cell phone, smiling and saying, "Can you believe we get to be doing this when we could be stuck working in an office?" She may be startled, but hopefully she'll smile back at you and maybe give you a high five. There, got it out of your system? Feel better? In return, next week, when we're settled into our seats, the cabin door has just been closed, and we're bound for glory and adventure somewhere awesome, we'll spare you the details.
This also goes, by the way, for five-day Thanksgiving getaway-ers, who will be on the road a week from Wednesday -- i.e., the morning before Turkey Day. Bon voyage, but keep a lid on it.


For a "Sunday Classics" fix anytime, visit the stand-alone "Sunday Classics with Ken."

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