Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flying with the gods


          So she’s not guilty after all.  Continental Airlines has a film that’s supposed to show she was on fire before she ran over that titanium strip.  The French court didn’t believe it and I don’t want to believe it either.   She was so beautiful.  Yes, she was ridiculously expensive, high maintenance and profligate with fuel. I didn't care.  I was in love with her.
                        The Ford of Europe account was in ruins at JWT the world’s largest ad agency.  After much agony and chopping of heads and fees, Ford had allowed JWT to keep the account but they weren’t relaxed or happy.  Ford was the largest account in Europe and JWT needed a creative director to run "the creative side of things."  It was a terrible job with a life expectancy of a few months.  Maybe weeks.  It was a wonderful job, combat on the front lines.  France, Italy, Germany, Spain a total of thirteen countries to keep happy at the same time.  Tremendous responsibility, no authority. Based in London, day trips to Rome. If somebody powerful wasn’t pissed off at you, you weren’t doing your job. Would I fly to London for an interview?  On the Concorde?

                      The plane was ego with wings.  It took off with a thunder that shook the earth but not you.  You were sunk into soft, deep maroon leather.  Dom Perignon champagne in a crystal flute, caviar in a little silver dish, dinner on the way.  To be served at 2,200 MPH.

She rose in an arc, cruised up the coast and then in a display of power that seemed impossible for such a small plane, accelerated like a 4th of July rocket until the sky was black overhead the earth curved like a green and blue and white ball below and the big mach meter at the head of the cabin read Mach 2.2.  The sonic boom was long gone, trailing miles behind us.  Inside we were an intimate little club of wonderfully bright and happy souls, telling stories, making friends. 

                    She was so small inside, only 88 seats,  the flight attendants had to crouch a little as they served and soothed, pampered and smiled.  Isn’t this fun.  Aren’t we lucky.  Oh yes, yes, yes.  Just a little more, please.  No, I'll keep the glass.

           The flight, with its long glide down over Ireland and Wales into London’s Heathrow was over way too soon.  I gathered up my luggage got a cab and headed for London, demoted now to another jet- lagged working stiff..  But for a while, I had flown up among the gods.  I would flew her again and again (OK twice again), but that first flight is the one I remember.

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