My mother told me to title this entry “The Journey Begins.” But she is a happy and optimistic soul. I responded with an alternate title: “The Journey Attempted To Begin But Then It Got Beotch-Slapped In The Face By The Forces Of Evil, Inclement Weather, And Bureaucracy.” The foreboding signs were present from the very beginning. Our driveway became a snowy deathtrap overnight, the entire family was forced to participate in a hasty snow-shoveling session, and I broke a nail.
One canceled flight, a five hour wait, a delayed flight, a missed connecting flight, and four hours later a bedraggled troupe of 11 Seattlites-who-didn’t-quite-make-it-onto-the-Auckland-flight stood stranded in the Air Canada line. They called themselves “the line of forgotten toys” (I assume this was some reference to Christmas’ island of misfit toys). I can usually gauge the severity of a situation and the competency of parties involved in said situation based on my mother’s reactions: if she’s radiant and loudly verbose, things are good; if she’s upbeat and only relatively chatty, we’re likely a step away from total disaster. Today, she actually frowned and uttered the word “bullsh–” This is a new low. Bad customer service. You might’ve just made the naughty list this year. Tensions started to rise between some of the forgotten toys and the ticketing agents. Squabbles broke out. Now, I have a very low tolerance for disharmony in my environment. In this situation, my coping mechanism involved a mix of meditating in the middle of the airport floor (at this point, honeybadger Lindz don’t give a shite what the side-glancing patrons think of her) and pacing whilst muttering in a British accent. All this in an attempt to hold back the frustrated and angsty tantrum-monster threatening to erupt from my chest, Alien style.
My music shuffled with an uncanny alteration of tranquil melodies and fast-beat ridiculousness that nicely accented my bipolar actions (Bon Iver was followed by LMFAO, “The Bad Touch” was flanked by film scores and Enya, and then The Lonely Island popped up… you get the idea). On the bright side, I had plenty of time to read through most of Swamplandia!, hauling luggage = exercise, Canada’s drinking age is 19 (sidenote: I’m 19), and I can recline and sleep horizontally in a real bed tonight (not all cramped in an airplane womb-tight seat).
Plus, I’ve learned some valuable flying tips first hand:
Tip #1: pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on
Tip #2: don’t fly through Canada in the winter (I might amend this one to “don’t fly Air Canada. Ever.”)
Tip #3: appreciate life’s small pleasures (like getting put up in a hotel for the night, a free burger, learning that Canadians eat their fries with gravy, and kleenex arranged to look like roses)
In the end (or the beginning), my family is stuck in Vancouver for three days. This experience is quite possibly the sequel to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Juxtaposition is going to make New Zealand’s magic and beauty seem infinitely more potent!