You know how some people have imaginary friends? Until today, I had an imaginary blimp.
I was reading the post over on WorldChanging about the return of the airship as a travel alternative. I am prepared to sound really dumb here, but I thought there already was an existing route between Brunei and Hong Kong. Yes, I know this is bizarre. It seemed bizarre to me too. And get this: I believe I may have applied for a job flying such a route.
OK, since my lovely partner is out of town (she’s living with an up-and-coming stand up comic in Harlem for the summer–the picture is at her stop — well, sort of…), I should note that I have not completely lost my marbles. If anything, I am just dumb. There was an ad — I believe in the English-language Daily Yomiuri for the position of blimp captain on the popular Brunei-Hong Kong route. Apparently, part of its popularity involved the availability of gambling and drinking on board (which seems even more absurd, come to think of it, given that the airline was owned by the Sultan). I was so intrigued by the advertisement that I applied for the job. I never heard back from them. I am prepared to accept that this may have been because they didn’t exist.
So now I comb the Web, looking for any evidence that such a service actually existed (come on! where is an airship going to land in HK?), or some way of understanding how I have fostered this route in my imagination for a decade. There are a few possibilities that spring to mind:
1. It was a hoax, played on poor unsuspecting English-speakers marooned in Japan without recourse to outside sources. (This was back in the early 90s, when the only thing on the Web was the UCI bookstore. Or was that gopher?)
2. The ad actually said “airship,” meaning one of the monster Boeings that Royal Brunei flies, and I mistakenly read it as “blimp,” when they meant “big jumbo jet.” While this is the most likely option, I find absolutely no evidence of anyone using “airship” in this way.
3. I read a novel at some point that suggested such a route existed and this somehow leaked into my belief about the real world. This does happen sometimes, that some inconsequential fictional bit of information will somehow seep into the real world. Doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, short of digging through microfilm of the Daily Yom, I am out of luck. I actually did keep diaries during much of that period, but given that they are not Googleable, and that I don’t have a firm idea of when (or even if) I actually sent a letter of inquiry about the job, this is probably also a wash.
In the end, my world is a bit poorer for there not being a party blimp that took a week ferrying especially adventurous travelers from Bandar Seri Begawan up to Hong Kong. I kind of wish I hadn’t wised up.