Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vacation Day One: Should've Stayed in Bed by Alex Snider

You have taken the Toronto–Winnipeg flight dozens of times. You have taken the subway–bus route to get to the airport just as many. IT IS SO EASY. But, you being you, you procrastinate and, you not being you, pack and get prepared early so when it's time to leave you are in a frenzy over your missing iPod, which is already tucked into your carryon. You leave at 4:37, your flight is at 6. You miss check-in. You miss your flight. (By only five minutes.) You have flown too close to the sun and like Icarus, you are denied flight.

They book you on a later flight. There are four hours to fill in before your next flight; this lesson runs deep. There is only a Fionn MacCools in Terminal 3. This lesson cuts to the quick. The veggie burger is suspiciously meaty but there are enough strands of shredded carrot, sure to make most meat eater throw over a table in rage, to keep you quiet. The servers seem intent to drop as much cutlery as they possibly can. No one is happy and there is no joy. The gin and tonic is a hollow prize. 

You make your way to the gate. There are people all over the seats waiting for the plane one gate over. A man sprawls his weary body over the closest row. You take a chance, there are still three hours, and sit in one of the seats prioritized for PWD and the elderly and such. The gate fills up, soon old people are lurching past for a seat one row back, glaring at you, young and able-bodied, for taking up the priority seating. You have only one seat. You are usually the first to give up your spot on the subway or streetcar. You help people carry grocery carts down stairs and hold the door for mothers with prams. Today you are not moving. You have no excuses except that you are cranky. That is a bad excuse. 

A mother sits on the floor with her baby. (YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW.) The baby crawls over and heaves herself up using your knees for leverage. She is adorable and she is vying for your attention. But while she is taking her first steps and her mother is watching with shining pride (tears?) in her eyes, you are listening to Pharoahe Monch's Simon Says:

"Get the fuck up!
Simon says get the fuck up!
Throw your hands in the sky (bo! bo! bo! bo!)
Queens is in the back sippin yak y'all what's up?
Girls, rub on your titties (yeahhhhhh)
Yeah i said it -- rub on your titties"

It is a beautiful moment. And tender. 

A half hour after the marked boarding time the plane waltzes in. Harried people get off. Half an hour after that the plane is loaded again. They announce priority boarding and half the people waiting get up in line. You feel partially redeemed for sitting in the prioritized seating because at least you are not one of the assholes jumping the queue. 

When you arranged to take the later flight, the agent had asked you if you wanted a window seat that didn't recline or an isle seat. You told her you wanted the window seat because you wanted to lean and rest your weary head. Incredulously, she repeated that the seat. does. not. recline. You smiled and said you would not miss that inch and a half. Now, on the plane you feel deep regret. You are sitting in the last row, next to the toilet. The "window" seat is actually three feet away from the window. And there is a woman already in it. 

You are fatigued. The roller coaster of emotions has worn on you, an already volatile person, and you still haven't recovered from the aural assault waged upon you at Fionn MacCools. You tell her that is your seat. She has the gall, THE GALL, to share a look with the flight attendant and then say, "I didn't think you were coming". You understand immediately that this is one of those priority-line–protocol-eshewing dickbags and curse the agent for not alerting you to the fact that this seat was garbage, not because of the un-reclining seat, but because it is the worst seat on the plane. 

You sit down, put your hat over your face and try to sleep over the incessant flight attendants' chatter and what you can only assume is their constant crushing of ice. Your embittered seat mate makes a power play for the armrest but she doesn't know who she's dealing with and you hold on to your inch and a half like your Stallone in Cliffhanger

The plane arrives in Winnipeg an hour late. It is midnight and you need a drink. You and your sister (who you have literally never been happier to see) go to the bar you used to work at in Osbourne Village and see some of your friends before your sister heads home to the apartment you are staying at but have never been to. She gives vague directions but says you can call her when you get there or throw stones at her window. Romantic. 

You take a cab to her place (because according to a woman you just met, there are rapists all over that area) and discover that at her intersection there are two buildings and you don't have any idea which is hers. You call her, she answers, your phone dies. You wait outside for 20 minutes. It is now a quarter to three. There is no one, no cars, no people walking, around. You try her car to maybe sleep there. It is locked. You are touched by her maturity. 

You walk for a while and come across a Tim Hortons' (commercial idea?) and use their phone. She answers on the eighth call. Tells you the building, her apartment number and that both doors are unlocked. You walk back, past the tumbleweeds, ignoring the "rapists are everywhere" comment. The main door is unlocked. Her door, is not (the next day, after frantically trying to find you she will tell you that you just need to push hard). 

You knock. You go outside and throw stones. It is 3:30. You walk again, well aware of the measly $7 in your wallet. There are no cabs. You cannot hail a cab in Winnipeg, you have to call one. You decide to walk to your brother's. It will take you about 45 minutes. You have been wearing heels since 4 pm. Plus, it is raining, now, too. You walk for fifteen minutes and you are wet, tired and morose (and cursing your hometown for it's lack of cabs, activity at 4am; you miss the drunken late-night revelry of your neighbourhood in Toronto) and then go into a 7/11 and ask the attendant to call a cab. 

The cab arrives and you watch the meter anxiously. You tell him your tale of woe. He is sad for you. When the meter hits $6, you tell him you can walk the rest of the way, he is concerned but you assure him it's not much further, besides, you only have $7. He drives you the rest of the way. Friendly Manitoba, guys. 

You get to your brother's, the house you grew up in, prepared to scramble through the bathroom window if the door is locked. It is open. You are somewhere safe and dry. Take that, universe. 

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