Of course I’m well used to travel by now. What I am not used to is travel in the absence of someone to manage me. This is because Big Red a) loves all things to do with traveling and b) thinks I’m…what’s the word?…a doofus when it comes to this stuff. So over the last few years, I’ve gotten used to packing a bag and showing up, meandering my way around the world simply by keeping my eyes locked on the back of his head while he does all the hard work (easy to tell who’s the real doofus in this scenario).
Last week I completed an epic journey to a distant wedding sans my trusty road manager. Rusty got off easy I’d say. All he had to do was book all my flights, print out my itineraries, complete all my online check-ins—the basics of diva travel management. It started with being hustled on to an earlier flight in an attempt to outrun the thick fog bank that gripped Vancouver Island as if it were Newfoundland. Then there were my fascinating flight mates: A furniture designer from New York on his way to his factories in China; a ritzy but pained woman who, after four hours of impromptu psychotherapy, disembarked considerably less pained.
There was the 3:30 a.m. check-in followed by a backed-up toilet, two hours with a hotel janitor, a room change, an evening out with the bride and her girls, a brief and exciting gastrointestinal illness, another hotel, then off to a country camp for the wedding with a love story to trump all others and the most beautiful bride in history. I found myself bunking down with three people I’d just met, one of whom was a man. Naturally, I’ve never once done such a thing, bedding down with a strange man for a night, well, not in the presence of witnesses. But I digress.
Obviously, I crammed a lot of frenzy into five days (including visits to four airports on the last day), but what my solo adventure highlighted was how much I missed my better two-thirds. Nothing gushy-mushy here, this is all about my desire for personal staff.
Given that my head is attached to my body by surgical plates and screws, tossing a tightly packed rolling suitcase into an overhead airplane compartment is best handled by burly redheaded men. I found my seat and sat back waiting for to Neil struggle with the bags. By the time I remembered he wasn’t there, all the bins were full and I still had my suitcase. I rang repeatedly for the air attendant who never came. I had to walk to the very back of the plane to find a spot and luckily there was the frowning, jaded, harried employee I was seeking.
“Hello there,” I said, all smiles. “I’m wondering if you could help me get this up please?” Scowling from ear to ear, she said she’d be happy to check it for me. I thought I’d be happy to check it, if you’d be happy to guarantee it arrives in the same city I do. I asked her again for help explaining that my neck was a problem, and she said, “You should have thought of that before,” and then…wait for it… she walked away leaving me and the surrounding passengers in stunned silence. A kind man stowed my bag for me—may karma smile upon him and may karma go ninja on her ass.
Now I know full well that this particular airline which shall remain nameless, Air Canada, has a policy that requires flight staff to assist passengers with their belongings. Yet, on the way back, a second Air Canada stewardess (politically correct job descriptions can bite me) watched me struggle until yet another human blessed with testosterone lent a big hairy hand. She shrugged and with a sheepish smile said, “We are just women.”
Somehow I managed to keep my big yap shut, must have been the jet lag and fatigue from experiencing the decline of humanity. I didn’t have the energy to have a go at her. I just slumped down in my seat thinking that might be true my fellow ovary owner, but only one of us lowly women has A PAYCHEQUE WITH AN AIR CANADA LOGO STAMPED ON IT!! Sweet Jesus in the garden, my friggin’ nerves.
Oh I feel a letter coming on. I shall lambaste this crowd, unleash a torrent of righteous indignation, refusing to ever step foot on one of their jets ever again, well you know, unless they offer me a free ticket. Better yet I’ll get my travel agent to write that letter—he’s good at flinging heavy stuff.