Up until this weekend, the last time I was on a plane? November 21st 2019. None of us knew what was coming so that occasion went uncelebrated. I went to Jamaica with my son.
Back then, I took a short haul from Ottawa to Toronto on a Saturday night and stayed at an airport hotel to catch the 7a departure to Jamaica. We had a beautiful trip with some terrific people. Upon our return to Toronto on the following Sunday, I stayed overnight again at the Toronto airport as I had to take a flight the next day to…….Winnipeg. Montego Bay to Winnipeg. How’s that for a scenery change? I didn’t get back to Ottawa until the Thursday. At that time, 5 flights and 12 nights in 4 hotels didn’t seem that odd. I was still working and I travelled a fair amount. At least to and from Toronto. But thinking about that now seems long ago and far far away. And very strange.
Fast forward, I’m on a plane now coming back from Edmonton after attending my Mother’s 90th Birthday party!!!
As has always been the case with me, I get a bit anxious before trips and often feel I would opt out given the option to do so. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to go and see a ton of family after 2 years. I knew the visit would be outstanding, in fact, I’m very close to my siblings and family and I was excited to see them all again. But there is always something about getting out of our routines right? We’re generally happier when we have order.
There’s a lot to consider when traveling. Packing the suitcase, or in my case, Dawn perfectly packing my suitcase, driving to the airport, parking, checking in at the kiosk, printing your luggage label, peeling it properly to attach to your bag handle, bag drop, going through security, which in the best of times can be humiliating, “Bonjour/hello”……line 4” reducing yourself into an Orwellian compliant crash test dummy, “remove your belt and your shoes, (my shoes? Ok then”) any liquids or laptops”? you pass through the metal detector with fingers crossed, “please don’t beep, please don’t beep…….BEEEEP” shoot, time to receive the magic wand treatment (not that magic wand) to find out you left a dime in your back pocket. Doh! and after finally getting the “thank you”, it’s time to re-dress yourself in a hurry, because people are waiting for no better reason than you so you both can go to the gate to wait again. I always get wide eyed and brow raised when the loud talkers kick in, TMI with too many decibels…..yes, I respect your thoughts and informed commentary on your life and your world, I just don’t want to hear it necessarily, I’m trying to listen for the mumbled and motor mouthed announcement that my “zone” is ready to board, only to line up yet again to then judge all of those who really don’t understand the 1 carry on bag rule and wonder where they got their entitled disposition. After showing one piece of government issued identification, which you then have to put back in your wallet while hustling down the walk way you finally enter the aircraft. (Watch your head) Time to shuffle almost sideways down the far too narrow aisle while looking for your row, “that’s me at the window, sorry”, the look on the 2 fellow cheery (!) passengers says it all. They gladly get up so you can “jump in there” and begin the elbows tight dance in preparation for the battle of at least one arm rest, (traveller tip, lift the rest immediately and neither of you get it) then settle in for that uncomfortably lengthy flight wondering if that cramped bloated feeling you have really means you do need use the bathroom, or can I wait until the next airport or even when I get to my hotel room? Or in extremes, can I just wait until I get home, knowing the longer you wait, the more the body is sealing the hatch. The choices we face.
Inflight service hasn’t changed. It’s still a crap shoot whether you get amazingly happy and friendly and helpful flight attendants or the “I hate to fly and I show it”. Type. Both crews were fine luckily. I feel for them.
This trip was quite different in terms of feel. Do you remember going to the grocery store for the first time with a mask and learning how to follow the floor arrows? It was kinda like that. But we got used to shopping and I did get used to flying again. It didn’t hurt that I had the exit row window both ways and no one sat beside me. Honestly it would have been a challenge sitting tightly next to someone for 4 hours in a mask. I was lucky. It did hurt when we were 45 minutes late from pulling back at the gate in Ottawa. That totalled my airplane time to nearly 6 hours! We waited for a first officer to arrive on another flight. Staff shortages I suppose.
I made it to my sister’s place late Friday evening. With the travel day and 2 hour change I was tired but quickly got an adrenaline boost when I saw everyone. Let the weekend begin.
Like yours I’m sure, our family is large and extended. Obviously not everyone with living lineage to my Mother was there, but we represented well given the circumstances. And had a great time.
I am so happy that I could be there for her birthday and super-charged to have taken many photographs to commemorate her 90th. They say life is short and that’s true, but she’s lived a long one and has given the world 6 children, 13 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
It’s been a wonderful life.
Happy birthday Mom and here’s to as many more as you see fit!!!! xxx
Now when’s the next trip???