Thrill-seeking is becoming a congenital problem in our modern, mollycoddled society. Some people don lurid Lycra hot pants and do the ironing in the snow, some travel to remote wildernesses to eat twigs and be eaten by bears. For me, ironing takes too much concentration, I would be arrested if I wore hot pants, twigs provoke stomach cramps, and dining with bears is not covered by my life insurance.
I do like speed though, and as a business traveller I go to work at 350+mph while sending emails, drinking coffee and occasionally nodding off. I've been doing it for so long that I find road and rail travel really rather dull and very isolating. In an aircraft, social etiquette is far more relaxed, I can natter away to some stranger for half the flight. Even when I approach a pretty girl I get a response — admittedly along the lines of "Tea or coffee, sir?" — which is better than the slap at Tooting Bec Tube.
Cars are great. They bring independence and gentle solitude. However, after being approached by a man in blue on an isolated road on a dark night, driving is currently not an option. I planned to use the same strategy that a stunning blonde friend of mine used with great success. Alas, swooning and calling the officer "big boy" didn't work immediately, playfully toying with his buttons worsened matters, and when I enquired about his truncheon he suggested how much more effective CS spray is for the modern crime fighter. I tried to complain about the lack of equal opportunities but the magistrate was, like me, more interested in speed, and my excess thereof.
In consequence I swapped my Subaru for a Boeing, my normal BLT for an in-flight feast, and my satnav (which regular readers will remember as Helga) for a human being in the cockpit. I had not previously considered flying within the UK, but it can be rather cheaper than driving, I can drink coffee (and even wine) without having to stop at service stations, and I can snooze without being interrupted by rumble strips and an airbag going off.
It seems ironic that I do so at six times the national speed limit, rather than 'slightly' more than double, which is what forced me to fly domestic in the first place.
Flying within the UK makes one feel rather important, especially as one sails over a gridlocked M62 on approach to Newcastle. After a week travelling, I'm still missing my Subaru, but I've endangered no one, my emails are sent, reports written, blood pressure down and my spirits are up. I'm off to Leeds Bradford next, and the best thing is, I don't have to stay the night!
Our entrepreneurial correspondent travels the world in search of business, soft beds and good breakfasts.
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