After a series of positive affirmations and Fearless Flying Classes with Anita Keating, Claire announced last week that she was ready to take off for Geneva. During the long taxi down the runway Claire kept whispering Anita's 'insider alternatives' to the safety demonstration, it was really annoying as we take emergency procedures seriously. Mid-sentence of another Anita tip Claire went silent and her face was ashen when the video started talking Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). She began copying the preventative exercises shown on the screen, her attention was somewhat eerie, and it made us feel a bit guilty about being young and fit. Claire expressed concern that Anita had not warned her about this potentially fatal peril but it's been a long time since Anita flew with Alitalia. With the forced silence of take off we watched Claire's face as she pulled her first G's, she had her eyes closed and was mouthing a mantra. Before the climb had even finished Claire resumed her Anita babble, veering dangerously towards sycophantry. We know enough about psychology to understand that her rantings were symptomatic of anxiety, and we are compassionate enough not to get angry at her but we too in these post September 11 years sometimes experience unease whilst flying. We tried to block Claire out gently by feigning interest in watching Cold Mountain. It didn't work because she kept interrupting us with more Anita prose and every ten to twelve minutes she'd perform her Anti-DVT stretches, her bottom and reaching arms partially obscuring our screens. With 14 hours flight time remaining something had to be done. We crushed up two 5mg Xanax in the cellophane wrapping of a cigarette packet using a mini Scotch bottle. We put the fine pink powder back into the nearly empty bottle that we shook to make a liquid paste and waited for Claire's specially ordered vegetarian meal to arrive. As Claire was asking the flight attendant if they were acquainted with The Keating Method of Emergency Evacuation, we slipped the potion underneath the foil of Claire's vegetarian minestrone. Fifteen minutes after her meal, Claire was fast asleep and we could relax and watch Wayne's World 2.
Claire was out till landing and was embarrassed and surprised at having slept the whole trip. We got a bit paranoid - Claire would not approve of being spiked with pharmaceuticals - so we told her that they turn the cabin pressure down to mildly sedate passengers so they don't go mental on long haul flights. Claire, who sees herself as a modern mystic, has 'an open mind for science', so she bought it unquestioningly.
Shortly after touch down, Claire was whisked away in a black limousine with darkened windows that was waiting on the tarmac and we were left to our own devices in Geneva, which appears to be a type of world office. People seemed to be having meetings and conventions everywhere; it was like being in the United Colours of Benetton. We went to the lake and the fountain was not on that day, so we visited historical buildings, monuments and religious landmarks but it was all very clean and serious so we went back to the hotel to watch cable and write postcards. Claire came back really late and she seemed kind of tipsy. We were so interested in what had gone on but we know better than to ask Claire the details of her readings, however she did tell us that he was 'very hospitable' and that upon hearing of her fear of flying he had us upgraded to first class.
It's only two per row in first class so we had to split up. Claire took the seat behind us next to a groovy New Zealander named Phillippa. At first we were concerned for the Kiwi as she might not have known who Anita Keating was and we only had 5mg of Xanax left, but they really connected over shared DVT fears. Phillippa gave Claire a pair of designer compression tights made out of possum wool and on her recommendation they started drinking 42 Below (cool Kiwi brand of vodka) bloody marys. They talked so loudly we heard every word, which was Phillippa educating Claire on Kiwi fashion, Kiwi music, Kiwi wine and how Kiwis maintain a better relationship with their indigenous people than Australians do. Claire seemed really into it and started calling her 'Pippa' and 'Pip'. It turns out Pippa is an Auckland gallery owner, recently divorced and living with a toy boy.
At Melbourne Airport, Claire declined our offer of a lift as she was off to the Zambesi sale with Pip. We don't want to be mean but that deconstructed look is not going to suit Claire.