I’d noticed the security guard and airline desk clerk at the Singapore Canadian Airlines check in counter observing me for some time and wondered what was going on. From my vantage point behind a long line of sweating and irritable passengers carts piled high with electronic equipment bound for Bangladesh I’d time to study my surroundings. The security guard beckoned me to the first class counter and I headed there out of curiosity. My curiosity turned to incredulous joy as I realized they were offering to upgrade me to first class, and at no extra cost. I needed no second invitation!
This was definitely a first time first class experience and I was determined to enjoy it to the full. I piled magazines around me, gave the stewardess as many orders as legitimate first class passengers, and spread myself comfortably into the wide spaces provided. It was very satisfying to be one of the first out of the plane in Dhaka, and see my luggage sail majestically onto the carrousel with a “priority” tag.
Reflecting on this experience later, I came to some surprising conclusions. I’d not touched down on the tarmac earlier than those in economy class, the food didn’t fill me any more than it had on economy flights, and I was able to read only one magazine at a time. First class had not provided me with any lasting privileges, and it cost fellow travellers in first class a whole lot more than an economy fare. Was it the ego trip they paid for, and did they get any lasting satisfaction out of that trip?
There were some other realities I’d not thought about before. From time to time I‘d envied people passing my humble old clunker in Singapore with their expensive car imports, but I was really at no disadvantage. We reached our destinations together, and I’d less worries about my car being stolen. Occasionally I also envied those with wealth, but my children received a good education and I’d sufficient modest comfort to be satisfied with my life. These affluent others really had few advantages over me, just money.
In a way the affluent are to be pitied. They’re anxious about the safety of their property, have to worry about kidnappers and terrorists, and their surplus of material things is an extra burden they have to deal with. They’re sorely exercised by the things they have as these need protection and constant management. While their lifestyle looks enviable I can do without their worries. How would they adjust to new realities if a calamity rocked their financial foundations and they suddenly had to make living style adjustments?
So, when you’re tempted to envy, as I sometimes am, think of the problems our affluent friends have to contend with and be thankful for what you have.
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2014 All rights reserved”
Image above courtesy of s681 photobucket.com