There is something weirdly inspirational about a long flight. I find myself smiling at everyone, and an abundance of positive vibrations for everything and everyone in God's (better capitalize that) creation flows through my system. Thank you, two glasses of Delta chardonnay.
As we sail over a blackened ocean so vast that there seems to be no hope of ever arriving on the other side, I chuckle as I challenge myself to an unthinkable task: I will hold it until we see land. Take that Columbus! (Note: This valiant effort failed a few hundred miles west of Ireland.)
Detroit has a wonderful airport, called Gran Torino, I think. It is laid out in straight line that requires a tram to get from one end to the other, a distance of about seven and a half miles. After we exit what has to be its worst cafe – named with a nod to worst part of the eighties and my unfavorite sport, Slap Shotz – Kurt Koenig, the bass player with Greg this tour, suggests we walk up to the Sky Club. This involves a ride on the tram of about three miles.
Inside this luxury suite, we see many captains of industry and plane killing time between flights by moving and shaking via their Blackberries. There is a complimentary bar, but really, it's too early for me. Instead, I talk to a charming sky host who helps me change my seat from the dreaded dead center to window for a reasonable $49.95. Then Kurt suggests a trip to the duty free store, only six miles away via the smoothly gliding tram. I'm game.
I'm not sure what duty free stores are all about, but it seems to be whiskey and lots of it. The kind of people who can afford to shop here apparently don't want to cough up whatever tariff is required, so the walls are lined every spirit every distilled and lots of cigarette cartons. It's a special place if you are trying to slowly kill yourself on a budget.
Walking back to the gate, every restaurant along the way looks better than Slap Shotz, including McDonaldz. I make a mental note not to rush into any old eatery just because it happens to be next to our gate next time. I fully expect that when I get to Germany, the restaurants ending with the letter "z" will be a whole lot better.
Which brings me to another random chardonnay-fueled thought. Is one of these people in the $4,000 seats the inventor of the flavor extractor? I know for sure this device exists because of my last two meals. The one on the plane made me nostalgic for airport fare, and there must be some connection.
Just speculating now, but what if you could pull all the flavor from items like chicken, tomatoes and tuna salad, and then sell it for twice the amount to businesses that serve delicious food? Or maybe flavor-obsessed rap stars? Wouldn't that be worth something?
I think we're talking big buckz.