3. Feeding Time on the Plane

I relish the arrival of the food trolley as the struggling to open various packets and the trying to guess what on earth is on the plate in front of you helps to pass the time on an otherwise gruelling trip.

No matter how bad something tastes I always make sure I drink every drop and eat every morsel put in front of me. Then there’s the packets to read and napkins to fold into funny shapes – anything to help me forget where I am.

There is one item on the menu however that I will NEVER EVER touch – even though I could while away a good ten minutes each time it’s served. It’s one of my pet hates. The so-called ‘orange juice’.

It should be labelled with a far more appropriate title, namely, ‘yellow acid’.  There may be a shortage of takers if it is properly named (unless, with yellow acid, I’ve inadvertently tapped into something psychedelic from the ‘60’s and 70’s. Dream on, baby!)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Let’s be honest here.

Who can say – and again I stress honestly say– that the taste of freshly squeezed juice of the fruit we call an orange bears any resemblance to the yellow acid drink served on aeroplanes – or in cafes and restaurants for that matter.

No one can. Not with any honesty. Not if they have ever actually tasted freshly squeezed orange juice.

I think the stuff they serve should be called something else – ‘adulterated orange juice’ comes to mind as does ‘2 year old, twice boiled, reconstituted orange juice’. That way an establishment that actually serves the real thing, namely fresh orange juice, has the right to advertise it as such.

Currently, the 2-year-old mankey stuff can be referred to as fresh orange juice if they’ve not long added the water to the concentrate.

Are we all mad?

Why do we let them get away with it?

How’s this for a suggestion?

Item on Menu:                                       Actual product being served:

Fresh orange juice                                      Fresh orange juice

Old orange juice                                          Anything not freshly squeezed

What could be simpler?  No need for complicated truth-revealing titles that take up too much menu space.

They’ll try to duck it, no doubt, by using just ‘orange juice’ but I’m all for making the use of ‘fresh’ or ‘old’ mandatory. I’m not suggesting that the cabin crew should be frantically squeezing oranges mid-flight. It ‘s just a matter of getting in bottles of proper orange juice – they have quite a reasonable shelf life. The yellow acid lasts almost a lifetime because it doesn’t contain much worth consuming.

Let’s get one thing clear. In spite of all my banging on about it I do realise that some people actually ENJOY drinking yellow acid and drink it every day for brekkie and that’s fine. I can’t and don’t object to the actual existence of yellow acid but I do object to its masquerading as fresh orange juice. It is NOT fresh – it is the exact opposite of fresh.

*      *      *

Gosh – off on a tangent again. Where was I? Oh yes….eating and drinking on the plane.

There is a major drawback to all this eating and drinking, of course, and that is the fact that what goes in has to come out……

However much I may abhor the idea and delay the moment, there comes a time when I must face the fact that I need to visit the loo.

As I approach the loo I become a little tetchy with the 3 or 4 people who appear to be aimlessly lounging about near the Exit signs – I guess it’s one of the few places where there’s enough room to stretch your legs , I think to myself – but it’s a bit thoughtless to block the way to the loos like that……..

Then the blood drains from my face as I realise it’s actually a queue for the loo! Dear God! It’s torture enough having to pay a visit without having to stand beside, smile at and possibly even make small talk with people in the queue all the while pretending that bowel movements are not on the agenda.

Nobody mentions the fact that a short time hence we’ll be serially inhabiting the same 4 cubic feet and voiding our bowels but what I  hate the most is the idea of having to use the same door handle, water tap etc as someone who for all I know isn’t fussy about washing their hands. Aaarrgh!

And why do some people leave such a mess – how hard can it be to dispose of tissues and paper hand towels in the bin – instead of leaving them near the basin or on the floor where they soak up vast quantities of who-knows-what to be trodden on later by some poor unsuspecting soul such as me!

Saints preserve us!  What fun!

The very thought of it makes my blood run cold.  I’ll have to start carrying rubber gloves on flights soon – although that may give rise to a certain amount of conjecture I suppose.

Having recovered from the loo torture I surprised myself this trip and did manage to watch a couple of movies for the first time. I was glad of the mind-numbing nature of the activity.  I quite enjoyed the one about the Frost-Nixon interviews and was grateful for the distraction, the effect of which was exaggerated by desperately trying to focus on that tiny screen and hear what was being said.  All very engaging to say the least.

But wait!  What’s that the captain is saying?

Heathrow is in sight?     Really?

Hallelujah brother!

So I manage to raise a smile as I stagger past the flight attendant because I’m about to be released from the prison that is the long-distance flight from Brisbane.

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