Wednesday, April 24, 2024

GAL FRIDAY: All things made equal

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DEATH IS THE GREAT EQUALISER. I beg to differ. I submit that Liat is the great equaliser. On assignment last week, I rolled my luggage to the counter. Rolex on wrist, a man stood at the side, branded from head to toe. (I don’t mean branded like a bovine, more like branded like a big shot.) Louis Vuitton hat, Ralph (not Bizzy) shirt and shoes. I suspect even his under-thingys were premium. Angry because he was apparently too early for his check-in, he was placed at the side of the line.

Now, with any other airline, he’d most likely be in a separate line altogether, only because he’d be in first or business class. But here he was, next to me, with my no-name rubber slippers. Pushing from the line behind me, out of breath, was a man of the cloth. Although I was being checked in, the man of the cloth (let’s call him MOC from now on, so I won’t go over my word limit) pushed his way into my airspace and said to the Liat officer: “I weesh to spick weef a manager about my dees-pleasure.”

I’m not quite sure why MOC wasn’t pleasured, but my take on regional movement with Liat is this: this is the carrier that moves the most people across the Caribbean on a daily basis; the superlative tool for integration. We know what to expect; although we must advocate for better. As I walked into the departure lounge, I was accosted by vexed murmurs and sour faces. I had work to do; and I catered for an approximate wait of three hours, so the delay did not anger me.

MOC sat next to me, manspreading and all, so that I had to adjust to fit against the wall. His legs were so wide apart, he could have placed my purse, plus his plush hand luggage between them. But now, I became as annoyed as the people around me. They were angry with Liat, but I was aggravated by MOC. He began chewing gum.

Have you ever seen a cow chewing cud (CCC)? Picture it. MOC was like the CCC. It was noisy, consistently bothersome and distracting. This was certainly cattle class. Thing is, I could not move to another location, since there were two delayed flights before mine; and the room was full, with four tourists sitting on the cold floor. The only vacant seat was occupied by a pair of legs, owned by an unapproachable-looking female.

But wait, reader . . . there’s more.

The pre-verbal proverbial pervert. He looks you up and down; and stares at you in the most salacious style. And then pops a question: “Wey you from, darlin’?” MOC peers over his peepers at pervert, then looks at me. I know my mother will brand my behaviour “rude” but I didn’t respond. “You like you cyah taaak or wha?”

MOC rises. All six-feet something. “Please son, liv’ d lady alone.” If only he knew my previous thoughts. Forgive me father, for I have sinned.

Veoma Ali is an author, broadcaster, advertising exec and most important, a karaoke lover.

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