As I was flying back to the east coast this weekend, I had a little psychotic vision flash through my brain. I’ve never flown first class before (I’m not sure I’d ever want to), and every time I walk past those golden-ticketed group of seats on my way to coach, I observe the people who sit in them. Perhaps it’s only my own insecurities nagging at me, but I always feel somehow less as we exchange glances; we the unwashed Tailies (thanks, Lost!), vs. the full series regulars, aka First Class. I’ve heard rumors of champagne and better snacks (or meals, as the case may be), warm towels and blankets and pillows for them…snotty-nosed kids and hacking seat-mates for us. But what put me over the edge this particular flight was the stewardess’ announcement — specifically, the way she let us know this was an us and them kind of situation: “Kindly use the bathrooms that are in the cabin of your class.” And she went on to explain how there were two lavatories at the rear of the plane for us coachfolk to use; we shouldn’t even try to approach the one at the front saved for those eight or so upperclasspersons. And so at that moment, I reimagined myself in the Snowpiercer scene…FILM SPOILERS AHEAD…
Are you gone, spoilerphobes?
And so at that moment, I reimagined myself in that Snowpiercer scene, where the train Tailies used a battering ram to move themselves forward, and I felt the anger at being held back from that forward latrine where the cushy-seated went to take a fancy tinkle. I pretended I was that guy atop the ram, kicking aside the stewards who would hold me back from the porcelain throne on high…and then I chuckled to myself over my faux rage and settled in beside my kids. It’s not so much that I have a need to be in first class; it’s that I (imagine?) am being made to feel as if those people are somehow better. Do they really deserve better?
All of this to say (it does tie in rather nicely) that when I sat down tonight to find something to write about, one of the first few news bits I happened upon was about a New York City developer who had gotten approval to include a separate entranceway aka a “poor door” for a new high rise luxury condo they’re building. Extell Development Company applied for, and received approval as part of the Inclusionary Housing Program, which means they could erect a larger building and receive tax breaks by making part of the building (55 units of 274 total) affordable (aka low income) housing. The 40 Riverside Avenue building will separate floors two through 6, housing the affordable street-facing condos, and those residents will enter the building through a back-alley doorway. The rest of the building is made up of luxury, water-view condos, whose residents will be allowed the privilege of entering through the building’s main front entrance. As Think Progress notes, this sort of arrangement is not uncommon in NYC, but plenty of people are up in arms about it (and the practice of excluding certain building amenities from affordable housing tenants in such buildings.
People, this is the moment we need to gather ourselves (and our weapons and the murdertank) for battle. I am ready and willing to man the battering ram. For the sake of the people, I will go collect Chris Evans myself (somebody has to do it), and we will lead the revolt against class-based entrances, doorways and separate latrines.
But seriously, this is some bullshit. Why is everything in our country going backwards?