Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Safe and Sound, back in YYZ

Safe and Sound Back at YYZ.

As I sit on one of the not-quite-luxurious, and by that I mean I’d rather sit on a rumbling eighth century staircase, with my back against a slug covered wall, chairs at Edinburgh Airport our flight attendant walks by. I hear her speak to her partner, “I bet you that plane is not ready. The plane is never ready on time when I’m here.”

This remark gave me pause. I had a connecting flight to make, and I was not one who had any desire to be delayed. Now, I understand that delays are necessary. They are necessary because the airplane gods hate me, and want to punish me for not having booked a direct flight. Overhead they peer down and scoff at the foolish mortal who thought that he would save a dollar here, and a dollar there, and now they just want me to experience the pain of high prices, and annoyed ground crew, disrupted from their world of gossip to actually help a customer – those, whom they may forget, keep them employed.

As I sat, now ever watching the sign reading “ON TIME” waiting for it to flip to “1 MINUTE DELAYED” eventually stretched to “5 HOURS DELAYED” I decided that I should spend the rest of my British pounds. I had no desire for seven McMilkshakes this time around, though the thought of consumption on that level did amuse me. Instead I went to buy airport books. I hate buying things, especially books, at full price but it was a buy one get one half off deal. And when I saw two volumes sitting beside each other I knew I must have them. I knew that they would be the perfect, “I was in Britain,” keepsake: Volume 1 and 3 (2 was not around) of The World According to Jeremy Clarkson, host of Televisions Top Gear. I can only assume they will be full of his hilarious, eloquent, and inane ramblings.

As I returned to my seat, things looked good on the airplane front, but once again I overheard a flight attendant talking to another that would be on our flight, “- - -don’t tell them it’s pink eye. If you tell them it’s pink eye they’ll ground you.”

To which she replied, “well I need the money, and I doubt it’s actually pink eye.”

“Yes, I’m sure it’s not,” another said while taking a step backwards.

The one whose eye was less white than the rest of ours tried to reassure her crew with the statement, “my mother looked at it, and she said it was fine.”

How was this young lady’s mother? Was she a registered Doctor? And I don’t mean in the I’ve written a PhD for the express purpose of forcing all my friends to call me doctor when we’re out and about. Was this girls mother a medical doctor trained enough to identify pinkeye from a glance? Conjunctivitis is nobody’s friend. It is one of the most easily spread of all diseases, and bacterial conjunctivitis is just terrible. Terrible to have, and terrible to see.

But, ten minutes later as we boarded our flight – early I might add – there she was helping us find our seats.

I was quick to forget about my fear though, as the entertainment unit in the seatback in front of me was booted up. The flight would find me watching Monsters vs. Aliens, Race to Witch Mountain, and 17 Again (quite possibly the best movie I’ve ever seen with that plot – and there are many.) Ah airplane movies. Those that you’d never watch were you not forced into a way to tiny seat for way to long, with nothing else to do.

We hopped down in Newark, and I cleared customs quickly (as soon as the agent looked up from his list of middle eastern names, next to flight numbers – seriously! what’s going on here?! – and saw that I was Canadian. He just passed me right through.) And then I was up and down, and safe right back in YYZ. Customs here was a tad more tricky, being asked a number of questions about where I was, and what I did in great specifics. And then I was asked what teachers college I went to. I froze for a moment – 18 hours in transit does nothing to improve my brain – then just guessed, saying a random university, which turned out to be the one I did indeed go to (the powers of the unconscious mind) and I was off.

Safe and sound, back in YYZ.

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