I’ve done a fair amount of traveling in my days, including the kind in the air, but in all my days, I’ve never parked my backside in an extra wide and plush first class seat. Our seats were the ones just behind first class.

I also never gave a whole lot of thought as to what happens on the other side of the magical line; the one that separates the privileged and the common, coach from first class.

The precious time spent amongst the clouds and above cell and computer signals is a precious commodity, one I rarely squander. I write. Sometimes like my pen and hand have a five word a minute governor on them, but sometimes, just now and then, it flows like the wind.

As the plane roared over the Pacific my fingers carried out the marchin’ orders laid down by my noodle. Me and my laptop were taking no prisoners… till the stewardess grabbed the almost sheer bluish curtain hanging peacefully against the bulkhead in front of us and ripped it closed. As if takin’ a peek into first class was illegal, or at least unethical.

The stern stewardess eyed the rest of us passengers, jammed like sardines behind the curtain, with angry disdain… which piqued my curiosity about life on the other side of the curtain, the first class folks.

first class

image courtesy of photo

The old Sawyer Brown song dropped onto the turntable in my mind, with the arm up, and kept playing over and over… like Crimson and Clover, (that one’s for you Bill). A portion of the chorus went, “Well I ain’t first class, but I ain’t white trash”.

Glancing into first class reminded me of the world of writing, the world of traditional publishing, the “haves” and the masses of “have-nots”. I’ve peeked into that world too. Got close to it a few times, but just when I got a good glimpse and taste of what life might be like on the other side of the curtain, it’s been yanked closed right before my eyes.

The keepers of the curtain that separate the first class, the admired, the respected, and the peasants on the wanting side of the curtain, pass along ugly words, many with angry disdain. As if it were illegal, or at least unethical, to dream, to wanna be on the other side of the curtain.

The first class dine on chef-prepared appetizers and entrees. They sip fine red wine from stemless razor-edged glasses, pinky’s out.

Those of us in coach, the commoners, strain for a peek past the curtain as we sip our sodas from plastic cups and nibble on twenty peanuts.

I’ve lived long enough to know the lines that separate folks are never magical… and on the other side of that curtain are just different sets of tests and problems.

We’re all on the same plane and our seat size or number has no bearing on our destination, but, if I do happen to land a seat on the other side of the curtain, in first class?

I’m ripping that curtain down… and passing back the caviar… I don’t like it anyway.