Mile High Club

Mile High ClubI’m no longer at a stage in my life that I fantasize about becoming a member of “The Mile High Club.”

As I look around the bleary eyed passengers of a 6:15 AM flight to Phoenix, Sugar Momma’s present company excluded, no one really appears to be Mile High appropriate.

Part of that assessment may also be related to the fact that Sugar Momma is peering at the screen and another part may be related to the very cramped spaces in the airplane lavatory.

America is not a thin nation. Airplane lavatories that may have sufficed a generation or two ago just won’t do it anymore.

Combine that with the fact, as I’ve previously made clear, that I don’t use public restrooms and you’ve got a non-starter kind of situation.

If I had the ability to read minds, my guess is that anyone on board thinking about entertaining in a Mile High fashion is equally disinterested in me, although to my credit, I don’t take up much space.

But that’s not the Mile High Club that I was hoping to be part of this morning.

As we begin a few days trip, here we are on a Monday morning, when I would normally be very anxious to trade in on the good names of my holdings and sell whatever call options as I could.

With a monthly record of accrued options premiums already safely at hand, I’m within distance of achieving a 100 on the 1964 Color TV Metric for the November 2011 option cycle. That was a figure that I could barely even fantasize about.

There was an extended period of about 7 years when I flew twice a week but never really gave any thought to what I was missing in the world of streaming data by virtue of being aboard a plane. Besides, back then we were lead to believe that an Internet connection of any kind was incompatible with flight safety.

Back in those days I flew after the markets had closed and besides, options only came in the monthly variety, so I would have a flurry of activity on that first Monday and Tuesday.

Not so this morning.

I’m still anxious, but unable to perform.

Actually, that sounds like the situation for the original Mile High Club, as well.

Having started the morning off so promisingly, seeing the CNBC logo emblazoned on airport newsstand, I was so hopeful that the Southwest Airlines flight would be Wi-Fi enabled.

I had flown the previous week to Nashville, but did so on a late Thursday morning, usually a slow time for my kind of trading activity. It really didn’t matter to me that there was no Wi-fi on that 2-hour flight.

Today, I just knew that it was going to be different.

Despite the fact that the cashier at the CNBCstore gave me a blank stare when I asked for her advice on Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and snapped at me “what do you think? Do I look like friggin’ Herb Greenberg to you?”

As it turns out, those people aren’t really employees of or contributors to CNBC, although the cashier looked strangely like James Altucher.

If I’m not mistaken, Altucher did once have a blog entry entitled “The 12 Things I Learned from the People who made Impulse Purchases at the Register before Boarding their Flight.”

So, it could have been him,

Yet, despite the lack of helpful guidance at the CNBC store, I still held hope that everything would fall into place today.

I was completely prepared to stream CNBC, engage that trading platform and join that Mile High Traders Club, ready to pounce and thrust trades out from this ad hoc trading machine.

I even had visions of having a celebratory cigarette afterward basking in the glow of victory.

Well, guess again.

First of all, it turns out that there is no smoking allowed on airplanes.

Secondly, no Wi-Fi.

To make matters even worse, next to public restrooms the thing that I like the least is making casual conversation with strangers aboard a plane.

In several hundred flights over that 7 years period, I probably averaged 7 words per flight, usually related to the offering of peanuts or a beverage.

While Sugar Momma slept with her head on my shoulder, someone asked what I did for a living and I was begrudgingly engaged me in conversation.

I can’t remember the last time anyone really asked me that question and I really didn’t have an answer.

Without giving her reason to ask, she then told me that her husband, a physician, as if I had cared, wanted to invest all of their money in gold.

She wanted to know what I thought.

Odd, Is what I thought initially.

See he wasn’t there to defend himself, I gave my opinion.

I then made the mistake of mentioning stocks and options.

But I do enjoy rambling on about that topic until she asked me if I only bought shares in corporations that were socially responsive.

I gave her the same “are you serious look” that I’ve given to others on other occasions. I like to make money with my stock investments, and not see them predictably trail the indices.

She had no concept of opportunity costs, when she countered that “if stocks make 10% and your investment made 7%, then you’re not really losing money.”

I tried to tell her that when purchasing shares in Altria, for example, that was a hands off transaction for Altria. They didn’t own the shares, someone, perhaps me, owned those shares. A buy or a sell was transacted with another individual or  institution, and not with Altria.

Donate the capital gains to charity, was my solution to any pangs of guilt.

How I wanted that conversation to end.

But first she had to tell me that what was necessary was a boycott of stocks. She used flawed history to point to the case of South Africa and how people got the system to change.

She had mistaken consumer boycotts for a stock boycott.

Of course, I never wanted to point out the socially irresponsible way that gold may be mined, yet that was there “go to” investment strategy.

All I really wanted to to get off that plane, forget about any hopes of joining the Mile High Club and get on with life.

We landed at about noon New York time. Plenty of time to make a couple of trades. Adding shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and JP Morgan, certainly among the most socially responsible corporations out there.

With quick sales of call options on both it was then time to meet up with friends and head out for a day of hiking.

We didn’t make it very far on this first day, but tomorrow, we all plan to join the Mile High Club together.

I think I mean that in a literal sense, but there’ll be lots of Margaritas, so you never know if the figurative interpretation will show its face.

Tomorrow’s another day. I’m still a bit shy of that 100 Color TV mark, but am hopeful.

Socially responsible or not, someday I’ll reach that Mile High Club, even if it’s by myself.