I am a survivor

I like to think I’m not a whiner; not one of those individuals whose glass is perpetually half-empty.
I pride myself on thinking positively. But—and there always seems to be a but—my latest flight from Halifax to Toronto drained every last hint of Pollyanna from my soul.
I arrived at the other end bitter and cynical, and I’ve yet to recover.
Let’s examine the facts:
Arrive at said airport at the required three days before departure time. Wield computer-generated boarding pass as though you have winning lottery ticket.
Push through crowd scrambling around express check-in kiosks and shake head to stop futile attempt to figure out how those devices even remotely speed up check-in.
Shove boarding pass across counter. Employee sighs, types, shoves boarding pass back, circles something, mumbles something else, no eye contact, no hint of smile, not sure if actually a life form.
Go through security. Undress. Watch person ahead of you hand over deodorant and toothpaste and nail clippers—and plans to take over the world. Click tongue unsympathetically on back of front teeth.
Get a pat down without being taken to dinner. Put clothes back on, have hands wiped down for forensic evidence of having washed behind ears that morning.
Wonder how much training required to do security job without cracking a smile or making eye contact of any kind.
Chant in head: they’re just doing their job, they’re just doing their job, they’re just. . . .
Walk for three miles to departure gate. Oh, it’s been changed. Walk three more miles to amended gate.
When announcer signals pre-boarding, all stand like herd of lemmings. Notice the 14 strollers at entrance to aircraft. Feel a tremor in the force.
Gird your loins. Find seat. Sure enough, occupants of afore-mentioned strollers strategically seated all around you. Feel an icy chill run down your spine. Shiver and swallow.
Hope no one is sitting in seat next to you. Hope squashed when woman with over-sized purse arrives indicating she needs seat next to you.
She has opted to wear the more-than-100 ml of perfume from her carry-on instead of surrendering it at security gate. Pull tissue from bag to protect eyes and nose.
Listen to flight attendant drone on about emergency procedures and feel slightly guilty at not listening. Imagine plane crashing and only those who listened and pass written test are allowed to depart burning aircraft.
Try not to eavesdrop on cell conversation coming from next seat complete with graphic birthing details.
Child behind starts to cry. Cry quickly grows to wail, throw in some guttural screeches (child’s, not yours) at 500 decibels. Feel empathy for mother that rather quickly fades to disdain and support for birth control.
Wonder about trading non-smoking flights for non-crying-baby flights. Wonder if constitutional amendment required.
Shrug off flight attendant spilling tomato juice (thankfully without ice) down the side of you without a recognizable apology and know she is thinking, “That’s what you get for choosing an aisle seat.” Buy cardboard sandwich for $43.96.
Wonder where parachute is.
Look at those in first class, behind curtain #1, and consider leading a rebellion for equality; to squash said “rich people” and make them sit in economy with rest of sardines.
Land. Taxi for half-hour. Exit plane as though it is on fire. Stare at luggage conveyor belt as if you fear blinking in case you miss your suitcase.
Promise to tie a bouquet of flowers and five-piece jazz band around handle of suitcase for easier identification.
Run from terminal with hands over head while singing theme from Rocky XXIX, followed by “I Am A Survivor.” Do all this while paying six cents for flight plus $943 in taxes and fees: airport-improvement fee, no-smile-no-pleasantries security fee, preparing world’s-smallest-bag-of-peanuts fee.
Vow to never leave home again.
wendistewart@live.ca

Wendi with an ‘eye’ logo

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