Day 1 (Tuesday, 25th December 2012)
The shuttle bus picked us up at the Park and Fly within twenty minutes and in less than fifteen minutes we got dropped off at the airport terminal. I haven’t traveled by plane recently, so the self-serve booths, electronic displays and luggage check-in procedures seemed not only new, but overwhelming.
We had plenty of time though to read instructions, look around and make some mistakes. The flight was at 10:05am and it was just past 8 o’clock.
New to flying? Check your seats ahead
I soon discovered that booking tickets together, even specified as companions, did not automatically translate into getting seated together. I was very disappointed to learn that we would be seated out of sight. My hopes were to engage in a 3-hour long heated debate on health and politics with Andi as we usually do when nothing else is going on. This would definitely be a lasting lesson for me.
Read signs and use personal charm
Gate 49. The service clerk scanned our boarding passes. We were about to walk down the tubular corridor when just to make sure, I asked if this was the flight to Calgary. “Oh, we are boarding for McMurray now”. “Boarding for Calgary will start in 10 minutes”. Oops!
Andi used that 10 min to “charm” and “convince” the clerk that changing our far-apart seating arrangement to as-close-as-you-can-get seats, would be favorable as we actually were still very affectionate for each other. Great job.
Check if media lives in your head
We ended up in row 27 with a bang-the-service-cart-into-your-left-elbow seat and a center-surprise-who-will-be-at-the-window seat. Wonderful! The seat by the window was taken by somebody that turned out to be nowhere near your “next door neighbour”. I looked up and froze. The bearded juvenile matched the media portrayal of a terrorist.
Waiting for take-off, I quietly peaked to my right trying to figure out if a terrorist attack was imminent, but my new neighbour didn’t seem to be nervous or contemplating.
I kept on watching secretly from behind my Wal-Mart eye glasses trying to figure out what’s behind his rather strange choice of appearance. Soon I noticed that both his coke nails (as described in the urban dictionary) did not stop him from drumming to the tune of modern music. I would have thought that a devoted terrorist should listen to some words of encouragement during the last hours of life rather than Maroon 5 and Britney Spears.
He spoke softly and with a foreign accent while ordering drinks. He, very likely, was just a shy and an artsy student from abroad. Wow! The media really did influence my judgment in this case. The media can subtlety and permanently make us believe in something that is complete bunk. Consider recent media examples such as “flu is a deadly disease”, “calcium will make your bones strong” or “lowering cholesterol will prevent heart attacks”. Please remember my false terrorist attack before asking for doubtfully healthy flu vaccine, reaching for those artery-calcifying calcium pills and depression promoting cholesterol lowering drugs.
Bonus: elastic bladder
Let’s get back to the young man seated next to me, the media stereotypical terrorist. After realizing the power of the influence peddling media, I looked at the young man again with my own eyes. Religious jewelry and tattoos on the hands and forearms now looked to be more of a complimentary statement to an eccentric personality rather than an “in your face” statement of a terrorist. The shy young man behaved very well and did not even get up once during the four hour flight. Thank God for a healthy bladder.
HEALTH TIP: A healthy elastic bladder is a very convenient feature during long tips. It causes less hassle for the owner and more comfort for the neighbors. A healthy bladder may sound trivial, but it is the key to uninterrupted distance trips and sound sleep. It is the gate-keeper for comfort in a bathroom-less environment. Next time you are about to indulge in some junk food, please consider that healthy bodies “stretch” the farthest.
to be continued…
To start reading our Seven Day Health Quest from the beginning click here to get to PART ONE
Click here to continue reading (go to Part 4)
No, Andi doesn’t rely on a walker to get around; he just chooses to carry the entire luggage.