Standing at the end of the conveyor belt my pointer fingers are curled through the belt loops on both sides of my shorts. Patiently I am waiting for a grey bin at the end of the belt. As it now holds all my belongings: belt, wallet, passport and backpack. The TSA X-ray Analyst is peering at a monitor trying to detect anomalies in passenger luggage. In less than an hour, my wife and I will board a plane bound for Calgary, then Toronto, and finally to our actual destination; Dublin, Ireland. Both of us have been patiently waiting for this day to come as it will be our first trip together using passports from the same country with our surname, the namesake which is imprinted into those valuable travel documents.
Ironically, the 2 of us, have lived, travelled and worked in over 25-different countries in the last 10-years, yet we have never travelled together more than 4-hours on a plane. This is our first BIG Overseas Trip together; 24-hours of airports, plane rides, time zones and fellow travellers. We are not accustomed to the other-ones “airport antics“.
As soon as we have gathered our belongings from the TSA staff, I’m ready for a coffee and a scone. My wife wants to check the schedule board. We are already at odds. This is not a good sign! As I am looking over the airport map, searching for a coffee shop, is when I hear to my right, “Shit! Our flight is delayed! We need to find an agent, NOW!” “What was that?” I say, turning my head in her direction as I watch my wife strolling away with her carry-on luggage at a very quick pace. I wonder, “What’s gotten into her?”
My long legs catch up to her within only a few minutes as I ask what’s the hurry? She looks at me like I’m an alien asking for directions. Then explains our flight is delayed between breaths, as she glides towards an Air Canada agents’ desk. Patiently we wait an excruciating amount of time. When finally the agent asks us over. We explain our situation and turn over our boarding passes and passports. She says, “Oh, seats are filling up fast and it will be easier for all of us, if the two of you stand over there. And when I have some more information, I will call you over.” We move out-of-the-way, our nerves racking up the seconds. I think my wife is going to slowly go through the roof, if the reply is unacceptable.
I, too cannot take it and tell her, I’ll be in the bookstore, or I might regret words which may escape my mouth as this is our 8th anniversary trip, and I really don’t want to freak out on the airlines’ agent. It’s really not my “m.o.” when I am at the airport because I am usually all Calm, Relaxed and Patient, as I’ve been an airplane employee and know how it feels to have passengers breathing down your neck. I just need to remember she is here to help us. And all we really want is to be on a plane today and land in Ireland tomorrow.
I’m flipping through the pages of a couple of books when I notice a yellow binder to my right it’s called “The 100-year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window”. Philip has his “Staff Sticker” of approval on the book. I flip through it. Read a couple of pages, laugh and read the first 2-sentences. I’m hooked. And go pay for the book. Arriving back to my wife, book in hand, she says, “The agent has been able to get us on a direct flight to Toronto, this afternoon. So, we’ll just have to hang out here. Did you find a book?””I sure did.” “Good, my turn to go look. You wait here.”
Eventually the agent calls me over. Hands me our passports and provides me with 2-sets of new boarding passes for the flight from Edmonton to Toronto and Toronto to Dublin. I smile graciously at her. Thank her profusely and bugger off, to hang out with my wife for the next 3 and a half hours.