Flying to my future

I am not an experienced air traveler by any stretch of the imagination. I have flown twice, a round trip from Ottawa to Hamilton. Two regional airports, one a little classier than the other. I’m used to rail. I’m used to the rolling gait of the rails under my seat whether on a long distance journey or a daily commute. I am used to having a modicum of leg room, albeit not during rush hour, and I know how to position my body so I can pee standing up even with the occasional lurch.

The trip to the airport started with a final dinner with my wife. We stopped at Boston Pizza in Pickering, normally a safer bet for service, and managed to have our order mucked up, our server seemingly forget to take our payment for fifteen minutes, and their televisions were set up the wrong way so the football score headers were cut off the top of the screen. I’ll let you decide which was the most egregious offence. Despite these set backs and traffic being slow in a couple of spots we made it to Pearson with more than plenty of time. A couple of hours worth of spare time all told. I checked my bags and set off the oversized baggage alarms. Over the summer I cut up laminate flooring and subfloor in the garage and covered my toolbag with sawdust and other particulates and the scanners at the airport have issues with that sort of thing. Luckily I had my key accessible and after a quick scan it was dropped onto the conveyor belt and off to $diety knows where.

With everything settled for the foreseeable future my nerves started getting the better of me. My dutiful wife shook her head, kissed me goodbye, and sent me off to security so I could sit down beside my gate for the remaining time. She knows me. I slipped through security without a hassle (after you’ve worked nuclear for a while you get used to the procedure), sat down at my gate, attached my iPod to the wifi and listened to the Friday’s sports radio show that I missed. With ten minutes to go I used the bathroom, got a drink of water, and promptly figured out that I had been sitting at the wrong gate for an hour and a half. I walked the quarter mile to where I should have been, discovering the concourse that could have distracted or caffeinated me (hello Starbucks), to hear the call for boarding.

Flying unnerves me more than the wait. Humanity should not be stuck in a tin can hurtling ourselves through the air thanks to a quirk of physics. My body tenses at every change of speed or altitude. I can feel when we level off. I tighten up when we dip forward to start the decent. We turn slightly at the Manitoba boarder. I feel every second of the brief course change in my body. The plane is cramped. There are only two people other than myself walking around to hold off cramping. I am happy when we settle down on the tarmac, happier still when my aisle-mates offer me a ride for no reason other than being good people. Thank you again Drew and Kelly.

I check into my hotel and email my wife to let her know I arrived. A few hours later I’m asleep and first leg of my journey out west is complete.