Perhaps I’m just easily amused

It occurs to me that you fine folks might not actually know my name. Legally, my last name is “Pierce Jr” — says so on my passport. And my first and middle names are “Darrell Kenneth.” I mention this so that you will understand the following perfectly true anecdote:

If you’re going to have to take a seventeen-hour plane ride (for example, say, from L.A. to Singapore) then it helps to fly business class and to fly on an airplane whose flight attendants are not members of American unions. It’s even nicer if you can manage to fly a high-quality international airline like Singapore Airlines the whole trip, and avoid the aggressively bad service of an airline like United. Alas, in order to get to L.A. this time, I flew coach on United. (This was my own fault for not having checked Singapore’s entry rules carefully enough; but that’s another story for another time.) I sat on the very back row, and by the time we got to L.A. I literally had a headache — because the (all-female) flight attendant cohort spent the entire four hours gossipping about other flight attendants they all knew. I so desperately wanted to stick my head back there and ask when they were scheduled to graduate from junior high school — or if they had any plans for coming around and asking whether the passengers might want a drink or something.

But Singapore Airlines is another animal entirely, and especially when you’re in business class. Among other things, the flight attendants — who are as spectacularly helpful as they could very well be — go to the trouble to memorize the names from the seating chart, so that they can address you respectfully with “Mr. Smith” or whatever.

On the other hand, part of the Singapore Airlines brand is the Chinese / Malay flight attendant — and so these ladies, most of whom speak English as their second language, will all duly look at my name on the seating chart…and then most of them spend the entire flight addressing me politely and helpfully and cordially as, “Mr. Junior.”

I never correct them; it’s too much fun. And besides, I appreciate their courtesy too much to want to give them embarrassment in return.


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