Flying posh

An urban myth has it that the word “posh” comes from port out, starboard home. On the old steamship journeys between England and India, to avoid the worst of the heat, wealthy passengers would book cabins on the port side going out, the starboard side coming home. What makes the notion fun is the geometric fact that to avoid the sun, you need to be on different sides for the two journeys.

A similar bit of geometry pleases me today. I’m on BA 178, a daytime flight from New York to London. I like window seats, but I hate having the sun streaming in on me, so I arranged to sit on the left side of the aircraft. Here in the morning we are heading northeast, with the morning sun to the southeast. In the afternoon we’ll be heading southeast, with the afternoon sun to the southwest. The poor lubbers on the starboard will be roasting all day long while I sit here in shady comfort, the plane slowly turning to stay between me and the sun. There’s Boston on my left now, magnificent in morning sunlight.

[10 October 2014]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s