“Ojalá que sí,” my mother sometimes says, repeating a phrase she picked up while serving in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica nearly 25 years ago. The words, in Spanish adopted from Arabic, express the hope that God (Allah) willing, something will work out.
The phrase was ubiquitous in the town where my parents served for two years after their retirement, and it has worked its way into our family, Those members who speak Spanish may use it, and everyone else understands it. Will everyone be able to make it to Thanksgiving in Vermont this year? Ojalá que sí.
I began thinking about the ways that travel has altered the vocabulary of my large clan after I took an online dialect quiz that was briefly and explosively popular via Facebook before overwhelming digital traffic shut it down. In 25 questions about the words I use and the ways I pronounce them, the quiz accurately pinpointed my birthplace and home territory in central Connecticut. Same for my daughter and son-in-law.
I wonder, though, what the quiz would make of ojalá que sí or some of the other outside words and phrases that have made it into the vocabulary of my family.
Fares out of Bradley fell 3.7 percent, adjusted for inflation, between the second quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013, nearly identical to a 3.6 percent drop in domestic fares nationwide, reports The Hartford Courant, citing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But Bradley’s average round-trip fare was $36 higher than the national average.
I wonder whether one possible reasons for higher fares is that so much of Bradley’s traffic — 38 percent of passengers — is carried by Southwest and JetBlue, which don’t charge for checked bags. (Bag fees aren’t included in the BTS stats.) So the fares look higher but passengers don’t necessarily pay more.
Or not. Figuring out whether bag fees are a factor would require calculating the percentage of flights flown by Southwest and JetBlue at each airport. And then you’d have to look at the percentage flown by hucksters like Spirit and Allegiant that charge for carry-on bags. And then you’d need to be a good statistician to figure out whether any correlation might involve other factors.
And I’m not that smart or that patient.
I’m delighted that the FAA is changing the rules on in-flight electronics so that I’ll be allowed to read my Kindle during takeoff and landing. I’m equally delighted that the change doesn’t extend to cellphones.
You see, I hate my cellphone. And I hate yours even more.
There’s a rumor out on the Interwebs that Delta Air Lines is thinking about a discussion of how it might possibly consider reintroducing complimentary hot meal service on long domestic coach flights.
My favorite message board remark, so far, on this possibility: “The only thing more offensive than the airline meal was when the airlines stopped serving them.”
The truth of this rumor is probably irrelevant. Delta may or may not be having meetings where executives bandy about the idea of giving coach passengers hot meals. Executives are forever bandying, which is what passes for leadership these days. It doesn’t matter because Delta will never, ever in a million years do it.
I’ve always liked the Ethicist column in the New York Times Magazine, to which people write with ethical dilemmas. My favorite was about reclining airliner seats.
Travelers face many questions of conscience but this is one of the more immediate and personal. Should you recline your seat into the space of the person behind you? What if the person in front of you does it to you? (As with most dilemmas involving air travel, it’s magnified in coach.)