London Journal: February 23
The limo from Virgin Atlantic arrived ten minutes early, as usual. I reluctantly left the massive suite and headed outside. The concierge walked out with me and asked, with that wonderful speech pattern, “I wonder, Dr. Weiss, if you could give me just ten seconds of a motivational talk to get me through the rest of the morning?” When I pointed out the spot in the fence across the way where I had seen my date for the last time, he said, “Well, at least you made it over the fence!”
That’s how my life has been, one fence at a time, still climbing. We shook hands and I told him I’d see him next trip. The driver checked me in for my flight on a computer no larger than an iPod on the dashboard. When we arrived at Heathrow, we entered a private drive that leads us to a circular entry up the hill where a uniformed Virgin Atlantic woman met me, looked at my passport, handed me my boarding pass, and directed me to their private security area, which took 60 seconds to transit. I was then in the airport having circumvented everything and everybody else. I bought my wife’s favorite perfume and proceeded to the best airline club in the world. All of this took five minutes from exiting the limo.
Last night I “celebrated” a successful program and a great trip with the hotel’s complimentary bottle of Moet, the chocolate and fruit that is always refreshed in the room, and an outstanding Dominican cigar brought for me by one of the participants, Adrian Bye. I watched Michael Clayton, which I think just may win the Oscar, though the ending was predicable. (Daniel Day Lewis wins Best Actor hands down for There Will Be Blood.)
I’m sitting in a private booth the size of many living rooms, overlooking the aircraft. I’ve had a plate of wonderful raw fish and am writing this with a latte and vodka/OJ by my side. (The wall sockets have provisions for any variety of electrical connection, including static electricity, I believe.) An Air India 747 is taxiing below me, once the only kind of long distance aircraft I flew. Times have changed. So have I. Always for the better, I hope. As Billy Joel sang, “The good old days weren’t all that good and the future ain’t as bad as it seems.”
I look back fondly on that 17-year-old in the park who hadn’t yet flown on any kind of airplane. But next week, on March 3, this Pisces is 62 and, what do you know, I’m better than ever….
(click on image to enlarge)
© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.