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The Road to Gold!

By L-J Anjema © Nov 24, 2009
Laurens-Jan Anjema and SquashTalk LLC

The road to gold.

I open the big KLM-envelope with big blue letters on it, which is lying on my doormat. You know, one of those impersonal unsigned mass-produced letters and with a lot of brochures attached to it. About where you could fly next and for how cheap or for how few award miles.

It also contains your personal account with miles flown to date. Though hidden somewhere and written in small letters, the following message hit me hard: You need 12 more flights before 31/12/2009 to become Gold Member. Oh man, I am the victim of my own competitiveness. When I read something like that, I can’t help but feeling challenged straight away. And challenges will be faced and overcome! I think exactly how KLM wants me to think, I guess.

LJ in flight (photo © KLM)


When I wanted to enter the KLM-lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol-airport the other day, I was turned down by one of those blue-uniformed blonde-haired girls with a look of disapproval. It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. She looked up from behind her computer after I gave her my silver card and smiled condescendingly at me after she checked my amount of flown miles this year. The fact that I thought I was maybe close to becoming a Gold Member and could consume free food and beverages behind those doors, was in her eyes, cute, funny and naive. With all the understanding in the world I politely thanked her and walked away with a poker-face. But my day was ruined. Maybe, even my week. Furious was I!

I WILL SOMEHOW add that little golden piece of plastic to the contents of my wallet before the end of the year. On top of the hands of several singing young blonde stewardesses I will be carried into that lounge after which I will treat myself royally to whatever is edible and drinkable and for free. I will use and abuse the Wi-Fi with hundreds of simultaneous downloads and will take excessively long showers at boiling temperatures. I will transport kilos of cookies, croissants and crackers in big blue KLM-bags and smuggle them out of that lounge to the gate for during my travels. With duvets and pillows I will enter that lounge days before my flight and I will remain there in comfort. Oh, they will know about me at KLM-headquarters. I will personally deliver their CEO’s sleepless nights while they’re twisting and turning, wondering whether the Gold Membership is still lucrative for the company on worldwide scale.

Counting the flights I had yet to make, I came to 10. In one month. Not bad, but not good enough. In total I came to 28 flights for this year, instead of the necessary 30. Thirty will get you the Gold status or Gold medal or Gold whatever, which will give you extra benefits like upgrades to business class and free excess baggage etcetera. Convenient if you travel a lot with a lot.

“Go to London for a weekend, go skiing for a bit or hit the road for a few days!!”, was the advice of a friend I shared my dilemma with. No, thank you. Please no! Do me a bloody favor, will you? The ‘problem’ being that during the squash-season I have already ‘hit the road’ for months living out of a squash-bag. I have already played match after match, league after league, tournament after tournament over the entire globe. The last thing on my mind when I get back hungry, tired and exhausted in Holland on the 20th of December is leave the country again!

Chances are big, that this winter, if you’d go skiing on some dodgy German mountain just over the border from Holland, you’ll see one grumpy skier, amidst hundreds of happy faced souls in the snow, going 100 miles an hour straight down the mountain. A danger to everyone on the slopes. He’s on his way home. To his bike and cheese.

No one ever said gold would come easy, I guess.

(LJ, 17th November, 2009 , somewhere in the air between Zurich and Dubai)  







Jan Anjema:
PSA Ranking 11-1-2008: #14

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