Friday, March 3, 2023

Nostalgia for US Airways, and Reflections Arising

I've mentioned the US Airways model on my desk before. (My life isn't very interesting.) I think I bought it about eight or nine years ago at this stage. Maybe it was even longer.

US Airways went out of existence in 2015, when it merged with American Airlines. Thus ended a history that had begun in 1937.

I'm not some kind of US Airways nerd. I didn't realize it had been founded in 1937 until just this minute, when I looked it up on Wikipedia. But I did develop a sort of attachment to the airline, over a few years when I was flying back and forth over the Atlantic.

I liked everything about US Airways. I liked the livery (colours) of its airplanes. I liked the uniforms of its staff. I like the style of its announcements and its in-flight videos. I even liked the packaging of all the little freebies they'd hand out on the flight. I always flew US Airways if I got the chance, and I was sad when I heard they no longer existed as a distinct airline.

(I actually enjoy flying. Mea culpa. I know this is terrible for a conservative, localist, traditionalist, anti-consumerist, etc.)

I've browsed the internet a few times to see if there's any such thing as a US Airways "fandom", but there doesn't seem to be. Nobody seems to be nostalgic about the airline.

It got me thinking about our relationship towards businesses. Some businesses evoke a great deal of sentiment from their patrons. Coca-Cola, for instance. Or Harley-Davidson.

I'm very interested in what I might call the cells of society. All of them. Nations, of course. But also families, political parties, clubs, religious organizations, and so on.

Businesses are such a fundamental unit of our society that I think we overlook them. But every single one has its own history, drama, identity.

If we have to live in a consumerist society, why shouldn't we make the best of it? I sometimes think it's a shame we're so cursory about these entities. Perhaps the relationship between the public and business would be less mercenary if it was softened by sentiment. ("Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.")

It's possible I've always had a glimmering of this feeling. When I was a child, I had a strange yearning to be considered an eccentric, and to do zany things. There was a brand of cheap household goods that went by the name Homestead back in the eighties. I began to scribble "Homestead" on the copy-books of my classmates. Eventually, one of them got in on the act and began to scribble "Cadbury's". Perhaps it's significant that I chose this particular form of eccentricity.

I know this is all rather fuzzy, and probably very naive. I'm the kind of person who always craves meaning and soulfulness. We live in a society that, in its day-to-day life, is rather short on both. We spend a great deal of our time in suburbs, supermarkets, office-blocks, and so forth. Places and situations which are rather deadening to the soul, to the imagination.

There are many possible responses to this. We can concentrate on our private lives; friendship, family, romances. We can flee to imaginary worlds of various kinds. We can take refuge in the past, or in visits to quaint country villages and open-air markets.

I'm not dismissing any of these approaches. But perhaps there is another approach; to try to find meaning and soul in the most drab, ordinary, unpromising aspects of our modern society. Or even to put more meaning and soul into them.

It's just an idea. Maybe it would never fly...


  1. Homestead. Goodness. Blast from the past that. Given instructions to draw a picture in school and now I see that image there, I realise that was what I was always drawing. Sinéad

    1. Ha, that's hilarious! Maybe there was something irresistibly cosy and nostalgic about the image!