Luckier and Luckier
Ok so it’s not quite the tomorrow of ‘tomorrow is another day’ but a few days later is still another day and another chance at attempting my stand-by flight.
So, first flight, Montreal to Toronto (Blah), this time no check-in bags since those are already at destination. It’s Friday so this flight is tricky since everyone is trying to get home as fast as possible for the weekend. The 5PM flight has the most seats available, and is therefore the most probable. Again as ‘luck’ would have it, I made it on board, and this is the flight that always worries me the most. The next flight was at midnight and had 70 seats available… for sure it’ll be a breeze today, I thought, after all how many times in one week can they downsize a plane?
So, we start boarding, I have a middle between two business-looking people typing away on their laptops. Ok all on board, ready to go…. But nothing happens, no announcement, no movement, no ‘hi folks this is your captain speaking’… 5 minutes go by, 10 minutes go by…then:
Captain: ‘Hi folks, this is your captain speaking, we have a little bit of a delay due to an issue with the checked luggage, it seems someone had 2 big bottles of olive oil in their bags which broke and made a big mess. The groomers are just trying to clean it up before we take off.’
Lady sitting next to me: ‘Olive Oil you’ve got to be kidding me!’
Me: ‘Seriously, I hope their final destination isn’t Toronto (blah), because the Olive oil is pretty much the same on both places…’
Lady sitting next to me: ‘Seriously Olive oil! Did I miss something?’
Guy sitting next to me: ‘Actually, there is apparently a world shortage of Olive oil this year, something about bad crops in the Mediterranean.’
Me: ‘Ah ha you’re the Olive oil delayer! I just hope they’re not bottles of Bertolli Olive oil! I’d rather have my clothes stained with something a little more exclusive.’
Guy sitting next to me: ‘No…. they’re not my bottles, I’m just saying there’s a shortage.’
Me: ‘Sounds like you’re trying to defend the olive oil person.’
20 minutes go by and we’re told the mess is cleaned up and we’re ready to go. I kept looking around to see if I could see a hint of embarrassment which would reveal the illusive Olive Oil smuggler….but no luck everyone just looks sad to be leaving Montreal and going to Toronto (blah).
So, off we were and two hours later I was sitting at the same bar I had been sitting a few days earlier, having another Gin and Tonic and trying to kill time (and not let my mind take me down the same road it did the last time I was here).
5 hours, 2 Gin and tonics and many Whatsapp messages later, it was time for my flight. I slowly make my way to the gate and wait for them to call the stand-bys, I had checked an hour ago and there were still 70 seats available.
‘Dear customers, due to mechanical issues the flight will be delayed for another hour.’
So, I go back to my seat and reach for my kindle when the guy in front of me says ‘hi are you on this flight as well?’
Me: ‘Hi, yes I am, or hope to be.’
Guy 1: ‘Isn’t it unbelievable, I don’t think I’ve ever taken a flight which was on time with AirCanada!’
Guy 2:’ Ja, I am from Sweden and ve have ze same problems viths our trains, alvays delays.’
So the three of us start making idle chit chat, Where are you from? Where are you going? For how long? What do you do? Where have you travelled to before?.... Guy 1 was a dentist from Toronto (blah) in his 60’s and who loves to travel. ‘It’s my passion and how great is it that you have gotten to do so much of it at such a young age,’ (yes yes he said ‘such a young age and was referring to me’).
Guy 2, also a great traveller, was a psychology student from Sweden, not Stockholm but another city he repeated about 20 times and still I can’t remember.
Guy 1: ‘So I don’t get it, you look like you’re 28 (yes he said 28) yet from all your stories and things you have done, you must be at least 40, you look great!’
Guy 2:’ Ja I vas also thsinking you are too young to have travelled so much and lived in Europe for so many years.’
Me: ‘Thank you, I’m not 40 though (not 28 either). But I do love to travel, and I have made it a priority for a big part of my life, but it hasn’t come without it’s fair share of sacrifice.’
Guy 1: ‘Good for you, you’re lucky you can do it! You seem like a very independent and determined young lady who knows how to go for what she wants.’
Me: ‘Wow you can tell that from the 15 minutes we’ve been talking?’
Guy 1: ‘Yes absolutely, it resonates from you.’
As he was saying this, I kept thinking where is this strong independent girl he’s talking about? I use to know her so well, we were inseparable before, but now she left, she’s nowhere in sight, and what’s left is someone crying in dark airport corners (after a few Gin and tonics) and who has no idea where she’s going. She can go to Europe to work, back home in Montreal, anywhere else in North America, she can take more time off, paint, yoga, write, dance… she has it all, all kinds of opportunities are available for her, she's so lucky, yet she doesn’t quite see it, she feels like mere shadow of the independent go-getter Guy 1 was describing.
‘Ok Folks Flight blah blah is ready for pre-boarding, and all stand-by passengers can come get their boarding passes!’
So, we all get on board and get ourselves ready for the long flight, shoes off, blanket on, neck pillow inflated, scrolling through the movie options…. 10 minutes go by and nothing happens, 20 minutes by….
‘Sorry for the delay folks but is seems one valve on engine 2 is not working properly and maintenance is just trying to get it going again, it shouldn’t be long.’
5 hours later and 4 failed engine attempts, we’re told the flight is cancelled and rescheduled for the following day at 7PM. It’s almost 6 AM at this time, everyone is grumpy and tired and fed up. At this point I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t be going on this trip. Maybe God or destiny or Ganesh were trying to tell me not to go, but then again, my bags made it there…. Why the mixed message!!! Maybe this was a trial separation from my things? But I put my prettiest shoes in those bags, I couldn’t just abandon them, could I?
So I’ve come this far, I decided to wait it out and try to make the next flight. 12 more hours in this Airport…. It’s enough to drive any sane person crazy so imagine what it does to a person who has already lost half her marbles. It’s a funny thing about how the mind works, your body can be exhausted because it’s been up for the past 24 hours but somehow the mind not only goes on but it goes there at Mac1. My mind was in every direction possible, What am I doing? FUCK! Should I be doing this? FUCK! I desperately tried to negotiate with my brain ‘Please please slow down so I can sleep, I promise I’ll take better care of you after but just give me a break now.’ But nothing, not 3 dragons, not Valyrian Steel, not Dragonglass could stop me, maybe Jon Snow could have for at least a little while, but he was nowhere in sight and he apparently knows nothing so maybe it wouldn’t have helped (can you tell which series I watched on the plane?).
So, 12 more hours go by, I managed to get some rest in a lost corner of the airport which had the only seats without arms rests making it the ‘ideal’ place to make a ‘bed’. I kept thinking that if for any reason I’d end up homeless, this corner could come in handy, there’s also a shower in that area…
So finally, after 12 hours or waiting, a lot of thinking, occasional crying and an exaggerated amount of caffeine, I was finally on my way. At this point I was so tired that even my brain accepted giving me a break so that I, and the rest of the people on this flight, could make it to destination 1000 hours later.
When I arrived, I found my bags, got a taxi within 5 minutes and exhaled as I walked into my not-quite hotel not quite hostel room.
The road to destination is indeed often bumpy and what may seem almost impossible or unbearable one day will one day be just a distant memory and somehow it all slowly falls into place (slowly).