Saturday, October 21, 2006

I'm Home, I'm Home, I'm really Home!

I have literally drempt of this moment! But each time I had this dream I ended up waking up in a hotel.

Friday October 20 at 17:16 EST, leaving Toronto Canada

I'm on the plane! I can't believe it, because I came REALLY close to not making it, and then the race at the end almost killed me. As all good boys and girls do, I arrived at the airport (Toronto's Pearson International) three hours in advance for my flight. Perhaps too early, because the near emptiness of the entire terminal lulled me into a dangerous complacency.

When I arrived, I checked my baggage (all four), paid my overweight charges ($230) and grabbed a cigarette all in less than 10 minutes. There were no lines, no waits, and there was still nearly 3 hours left and no apparent reason to hurry. So I went for lunch. I stopped, ate, had two beers, and spent my time talking to three lovely young ladies off to England and Cuba. Perfect!

Except when I stepped out from lunch the security lines for the gates stretched farther than the eye could see. Over the horizon! I had 90 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, only 30 minutes until boarding was to begin, and well... security took me 87 minutes! EIGHTY SEVEN!!! They even decided to swab my baggage for explosive (I think that's what they were doing) and for the first time EVER my belt buckle set the metal detector off.

But hey, I already gave away that I made it to the plane. :-) What I didn't mention was the flat out run from one end of the terminal to the other while the public address system blared my name and claimed that my gate was closing. I was the only one not on and made it with less than 60 seconds to spare.

And that's when my asthma attack hit!

God verdomme I hate that!!! I sat in my seat and figured I'd be okay. It was mild. My lungs were building phlegm and I started coughing a bit, but I was still fine. And within minutes, we took off. Oh wow, does that ever change things. What's good on the ground isn't at all good at 8,000 feet ASL and we were there.

I swear of all the flights I've been on (this is my 29th trip across the Atlantic for example) that was the fastest a pilot has ever turned off the seat-belt sign. Amazing! I was able to jump up, grab my inhaler from the overhead, and duck off to the lavatory where my lungs eventually gained normalcy. Writing this bloc [section of] entry followed immediately.

I didn't want to wait, because I've had an amazingly crazy airport experience and wanted to type this while still feeling the shaking in my hands.

Marsha, I wish you all the best on your upcoming wedding! I hope your trip through security and onwards to England is less stressful than mine. Crazy-camera-lady, best of luck catching your flight and have a safe trip back to Winter-peg. That really did take BIG balls to jump into the security line when/where you did but it seems to have worked out for everyone involved... plus I enjoyed talking to you.

23:01 EST / 05:01 CET, 36,000 feet over England

Wow! One hour to landing! This seems to have been a really short flight. Perhaps because it took at least an hour for me to believe I was actually on it? Perhaps because I watched and enjoyed all three in-flight movies? Perhaps because all the young pretty Dutch women kept wandering throughout the cabin? Who knows, it's been good.

Perhaps I'm doing the calculation wrong? I haven't even had any nicotine gum yet!

But wait, there's the captain saying we're preparing to land in "less than one hour!"


Saturday October 21 at 17:46 CET, Amsterdam NL

*yawn* Good morning all! Wow, this time I woke up still here! I'm probably not dreaming. :-)

I've way overslept my plan. I knew if I let myself sleep after arriving this morning that this would happen. But by 8am local time I crashed into bed with the alarm set to 11:30. That somehow got interpreted by my sleeping body as 5:30pm. Oh well....

But who really cares?!?! I'm Home!!!


Irene Bons said...

O my God, what a story ! Why is it that those airport security people always mistake you for a terrorist ?? You don't look that dangerous to me.... but I'm glad you made it home !!!! And it was really fun to finally receive your sms's again on Saturday morning, even when it was a bit early (I had the alarm on 8.00 :-) )

IDiveAtNight said...

Heck, that story ignored packing, customs and a bunch of stuff. ;-)

Security likes me since I represent a typical (looking) local male but stand out for having long hair. While testing my luggage the security guy was far more interested in the reactions of those in line behind me.