A LOTTERY WITHOUT WINNERS
As you sit in your aisle seat, tensely watching fellow airborne cattle slowly shuffle forward, it dawns on you that the guessing game of who might occupy the empty seat next to you is a lottery with no prize for winning; the suspense lies only in how much you can lose.
This seatmate waiting game has the ability to turn even the most charitable optimists in to Trumpian arbiters, judging strangers based solely on their looks in categories like chattiness potential, organizational skills, likelihood of a shower in the last 24 hours, and odds you'll wake up with this person’s head on your shoulder.
In the traditional American holiday season, those weeks encompassing and between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, the number of people who have never flown before or only head to the airport once a year for this annual pilgrimage seem to outnumber frequent business flyers and overstuffed mileage account holders two to one. Navigating security lines with travelers attempting to drink entire gallons of Gatorade as they are told, no, one gallon is not less than three ounces, then involuntarily participating in a human obstacle course filled with tired children and abandoned wheelchairs just to reach your gate is only half the battle for your sanity. The next half comes when on the alternating roller coaster of hope and despair as you wonder who will be the lucky(?) person to take the seat next to you.
As you see the woman expertly cradling a laptop and magazine under her arm, sporting the latest in rolling suitcase technology and with bluetooth headphones already in her ears glancing at row numbers as she approaches, you allow hope to creep in. Is this overwhelmingly-likely-to-keep-to-herself woman destined for 22B? She passes and heads for 24C, and you sign and turn your head back to the next candidate.
Shit. It’s that guy juggling two backpacks and a 100 pound golden retriever wearing a Service Dog vest so homemade it might as well still have its Etsy packing label attached. As he scrounges around his pockets pulling out crumpled old receipts but never his paper boarding pass because you can’t get a mobile boarding pass if you still use a Motorola RAZR, you wonder if you can change the background of your phone to anything other than the picture of your own dog fast enough to play the allergies card. But the travel gods have smiled on you today, and as he finally finds his boarding pass with 36A circled in pink highlighter you pat Rover on his massive head and sigh again, this time in relief.
By this time the plane is almost full, so while the final few candidates approach an audacious thought flickers through your mind: Will I have an empty seat next to me?! Inevitably, however, as quickly as you let hope in it runs out the back door, as the guy with the Ostrich Pillow and a free company giveaway backpack points to the seat beside you.
He throws his backpack in an overhead bin - despite its small size making it a perfect fit under the seat in front of him and setting off a chain reaction of “God damn its” from the everyone still behind him with rolling suitcases - you bargain with yourself and say it could be worse. But as he removes his coat and starts to shove it on top of your carefully packed duffel bag containing the $4,800 suede jacket you flexed in front of aunts and uncles it takes all your restraint to not stand up swinging.
So hours later, finally home and comfortable in the presence of a size-appropriate pet and a partner who hates everything and everyone as much as you do, you slip in to this 100% Cashmere The Elder Statesman Robe and weigh the price of your sanity against the cost of buying out the entire row on your Christmas flight to Pittsburgh.
Brand: The Elder Statesman
Store: Frans Boone Store
Why: The most compelling argument for this Elder Statesman cashmere robe is that it's cheaper that a month of therapy and just as likely to make you hate the world a bit less as ninety minutes a week talking to a shrink. Hand spun and loomed in the US with cashmere from Peru, this piece screams luxury at a volume almost as loud as your internal screaming when you see someone put their roll-aboard in the overhead bin with the long side facing out, robbing someone else of a spot for his or her luggage. Whether it's walking your dog and hating fellow pet owners who don't pick up after their canines or hating reality TV stars from the comfort of your own home this robe reminds you that joy and insulation do exist in this shitty world, in this case they're just super expensive.