Hay’s Daze: Finally getting off the ground

Let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah, last time I was moaning on about being in line forever and ever at an airport with an electronic boarding pass that had no electrons left.

Or, at least, somehow my ticket had vanished into cyberspace and was nowhere to be found on my phone. This in itself is not surprising on account of the only things I can seem to find on my phone are things that I’m not looking for and things that I don’t want to find. But this is particularly problematic when you’re standing in the front of a very long line sputtering apologies to an Airline Boarding Person whilst several dozens (hundreds?) of understandably impatient travelers are seething intensely and muttering loudly behind you.

The solution to the problem, of course, is obvious. Find a person between the ages of 12 and 32 and politely beg them to help you with your phone. It will be solved in 10 to 20 seconds. And it was. The boarding pass was apparently “filed” in some kind of “folder” in my “data” and I was looking in something called “Blue Tooth” or possibly “Black Tongue”. Still not sure. Thing is, the Better Half and I finally managed to finally get through security.

Whereupon we encountered yet another crowd of tired, grumpy people. All of the uncomfortable chairs were taken and it has just been nonchalantly announced that the flight would be “somewhat delayed”. No one was exceptionally surprised and no one was particularly pleased. And of course, it was barely sun-up and the only food place in the airport featured cold coffee and stale muffins. At the other end of an airport the size of a small city.

When the airplane finally arrived and they opened up the sardine can for us sardines to pack ourselves in there we found that the Better Half was in row 10 and yours truly was stuffed in the middle seat in row 28. You see, we were travelling “on a budget” and the “Ultra-Low Fare Airline” charges 20 smack-a-roos each to choose a seat. And I suppose when you don’t pony up the extra bucks the vengeful computer robot makes sure to book your seats as far away from each other as possible.

And, predictably, in my row, the person in the window seat was a large male who liked to sprawl, and the person on my other side was a lady who was apparently going for the Guinness World Record for non-stop talking. And I felt sorry for both of them because they were sat beside, well, me.

So, as one does, I scrunched myself into the space designed for a rather small Capuchin monkey and immediately pretended to be fast asleep before we even took off. It didn’t work.

Poke, poke, poke. The lady in the aisle seat, jabbing my shoulder. “I don’t like flying much, do you?” she said. And before I could answer she continued casually, “I hope you don’t mind if I grab your arm.” This was only the beginning.

As the sardine on my left kept elbowing me in the ribs, I learned the entire family history of the sardine on the right including the fact she didn’t get along very well with her sister, and when we finally landed bumpily she did indeed suddenly seize my arm with rather sharp fingernails.

But, really, why am I complaining? It was a safe journey and all three airline staff tried hard and we got to go somewhere nice for a short while. And it was an adventure. And what’s life without adventure?

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can email him column ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com.