Monday, July 29, 2013

That Time I Didn't Spend $2.60 on a Blanket Out of Spite

I would love to write something deep and poetic about my experience at the BlogHer13 conference this past weekend. Something heartfelt and reflective like Sarah at Left Brain Buddha wrote this morning.

But I can't. I still haven't processed it all, and you know what's great about me is that I usually just ignore intense emotions that I can't process until they bubble up in a volcanic explosion of tears and obsessive Swiffering, and then I take it out on Rayne, complaining about the horrid smell of the Sriracha with which he ruins his pizza.

All I can say about this is, at least I am self-aware. I feel like I should get a few points for that.

So instead, I'm going to write about how I didn't spend two dollars an hour yesterday to increase my own comfort immeasurably. Out of spite.

My flight out of Chicago on Sunday morning was at 6:50 a.m. Yes. Why did I buy such an early ticket? I can't say for sure, but it's probably because it was the cheaper option, and that's how I roll. I am offended a priori by the prices airlines charge these days to fly through the sky for a suffocatingly small space on a germ-ridden tube of metal and recycled air.

When I used to fly to Italy a lot in the 90s, I paid max $400 round-trip, sometimes less. I always had an extra seat or two to myself. And milk was 10 cents a gallon.

But I digress.

I arrived to the airport early (as is my wont) and checked in for my JetBlue flight. I upgraded to an empty Even More Space row for $35, which also got me Even More Speed (a shorter security line) and Even More Sitting (early boarding).

Rayne would be proud of me, I thought. I'm spending a little extra money to be more comfortable.

On the plane, I had three seats to myself. Woo hoo! I could actually lie down and sleep! The airplane, however, was about two degrees below zero (Fahrenheit), and I was wearing a skirt and sandals.

In the olden days, JetBlue would have lent me a blanket for free. But in these trying times, a blanket costs four dollars. Four. Dollars.

Was I renting or buying the blanket? These are are questions I did not ask, because I was outraged. Despite the chronic lack of sleep in my life, I refused on some warped principle to spend an insignificant amount of money for a blanket.

I'll be fine, I thought. The flight is only two hours.

There's a word for this in Italian, and it's testarda. Thick-head. Stubborn. 

I imagined Rayne and I laughing later on about what an idiot I had been. And for good reason.

I slept in fits and starts, shivering. At one point about an hour in, I paused to wonder if I should just buy the damn blanket and sleep happily for at least a little bit.

No! My inner testarda cried. You're already half-way through the flight. Suck it up. That I had spent a ridiculous sum of money in business school learning the concept of sunk cost did not enter my brain's chilly calculus.

Later that night, Rayne, as expected, was incredulous. "So basically, you value your own comfort at less than two dollars an hour," he said, half laughing and half rolling his eyes.

I, naturally, had not thought about it that way.

"But I upgraded to Even More Space! I'm getting better!" I protested, also laughing. "Although," I added, "I guess I only really did that because I knew I could write it off as a trip expense."

"But you could have done that with the blanket, too!" Rayne exclaimed, at this point fully exasperated with me. "So, it's worse," he said. "You refused to be more comfortable for one dollar and thirty cents an hour."

(Damn him for being able to do arithmetic so fast in his head.)

I hung my head sheepishly.

"But you still love me, right?"

"Yes, my stubborn little wife, I still love you."

And that's what counts, am I right?

Do you cut off your nose to spite your face like I do? Or are you more practical like my husband?

Image courtesy of artur84 /