All salt and no pepper

The letter request:

Late last year my husband and I went on an overseas holiday, we spent all year saving and had a great time. On the way back, however, we were not seated together on the plane. The lady who checked us in at Hamburg mentioned this in passing, but then told us to speak to someone in Dubai about getting our seats changed. In Dubai we spoke to at least five people but… nothing.


The letter:

Dear Emirates,

I’m hungry. Hear me out. I’m hungry because today I went to my favourite dumplings restaurant for lunch and they gave me a single chopstick to eat with. What what? Crazy, I know. I couldn’t eat a thing. Everyone knows that chopsticks come in pairs and that a lone chopstick is as useless as an umbrella in a hurricane.

I’m also cold. Not all of me, just my left foot. See I went to put on my shoes and socks this morning and there was only one of each. One shoe, one sock. That’s it. Consequently, all day today I’ve been hobbling around trying to avoid murky puddles and spit and chewing gum and worse.

So anyway. After work I went to the gym to let off some steam and, wouldn’t you know it, there was only one free dumbbell. Consequently, my left bicep is now bulging through my jacket, Incredible Hulk-style, while my right is a quivering mess of weakness and insecurity barely able to clutch this piece of paper, let alone pick up a dumpling with one chopstick.

To make matters worse, in the shower at the gym, I realised I had shampoo but no conditioner (hello flat hair) and, at dinner after that, my salt and pepper tofu was all salt and no pepper. Tough luck, the waiter said, we’re out. The result? A mighty salty thirst that, try as I might, I could not quench. Followed by a sleepless night peppered (pardon the pun) with thirteen trips to the bathroom.

The long and the short of it is this: some things belong together. Chopsticks, shoes, socks, dumbbells, shampoo and conditioner, salt and pepper. These things come in pairs for a reason and heaven help the fool who tries to keep them apart. Which brings me to you, dear Emirates.

Late last year, my husband and I saved up all our precious pennies and took our first trip overseas – flying Emirates. On the way over, we were very happy with your service but, on the flight back, from Dubai to Singapore to Brisbane, things weren’t so cosy and here’s why: between my husband and me there was a great gaping chasm of aeroplane. That is to say, rather than being seated together, as you’d expect of a couple who booked their tickets together, we were seated so far apart my husband crossed each date line half an hour before I did. Ergo, rather than spending the flight home side-by-side reminiscing about our happy holiday, we were forced to flick through our digital snaps in solitary silence while our seat buddies made awkward attempts at small talk.

Now I know you aeroplane folks are hip to the lingo of pairs. Pilots have co-pilots and wings grace both sides of the plane. Two rows of lights guide us to emergency exits, passengers get to choose between an aisle seat and a window seat, hell, some aeroplanes even have twin engines. I know for sure this concept is not foreign to you so, how’s about next time, you quit fooling around with the natural order of things and keep like with like. Let husbands sit with wives, children sit with parents, lovers sit with lovers and best friends sit with best friends. And of course, let strangers sit with strangers. The plane trip is part of the holiday and flying solo is not my thing.

Yours sincerely,