I am the Zen Master

I’m constantly teased by my family for being a spazz. Amazingly, I am good at laughing this off now because I am no longer the spazz of years gone by. Sure, there are times when I pound my pillow before angrily dozing off but such days are thankfully rare.

I attribute this newfound ability to deal with life’s lemons to growing up. The acne is still not completely gone, but I think those hormones are finally stabilising. Now I’ve got to worry about aging! Vain girls can never win, eh?

It’s not just the natural passing through my early twenties that is changing my outlook; ‘cuz let me tell you, I used to be a real mess. Ask my former therapists. Not that they would remember because it’s been so long. (Hallelujah!) Not that they even had enough time to uncover all that crap. Those who have stuck around in my inner circle know what I’m talking about. My crew knows.

What’s made the biggest difference? Love. I’ve written about this before; but I literally emerged out of complete darkness after meeting my man. Analyse it all you want; but don’t frown upon me. I got better because someone I loved a lot loved me right back. Since I respected and adored him so much, I figured he wasn’t totally off-base when it came to loving me. So I learnt to love myself.

Okay, so it’s really not that simple. But it is, you know?

So in this whole complicated process of growing up and building my life with my partner, I learnt how to live like a happy person. I learnt how to let the little things slide. I learnt how to pick myself up and brush myself off without whimpering and wiping snot off my face. Okay, that’s not always true, but I’m working on it!

So when Orbitz screwed me over by knocking me off my evening direct flight back to Toronto and put me on an early morning series of flights that would triple my travel time, I did what was necessary without bursting capillaries in my face. (See? Vain!) 3 customer service agents hung up on us. (”Us” being the aforementioned superboyfriend and moi.) Finally, one agent was willing to help though she did insist that the Orbitz “system” indicated that they had sent out a notification e-mail in December about the flight changes when no such e-mail was received. As nice as she was for an Orbitz customer service rep, she was unable to help me like a real travel agent would and instead connected me to United Airlines directly.

The UA dude was perfectly nice, but still refused to put me back onto my original direct flight that is operated by Air Canada. According to him, no other direct flight in my class was available. So, I still had to go out to hellish O’Hare and then connect to Toronto. Chicago is further away from Toronto than Boston.

Grateful that I didn’t have to leave for the airport at 4 a.m., I accepted his shitty offer and slept it off. No use getting annoyed. At least I would get home on Sunday evening. Well I did make it home on Sunday evening; but I later than anticipated because THE FLIGHT TO CHICAGO WAS CANCELLED.

So I line up for ages and get told by an incompetent ground crew member that I should just take my United e-ticket and saunter over to the Air Canada counter where they can put me on standby for the direct flights to Toronto. Air Canada agents obviously wonder why UA didn’t do their own damn job or at the very least transfer my ticket to them.

I keep myself calm and collected while negotiating with the Air Canada ticketing agent who finally gives me the answer I’ve been trying to feed her: an executive class seat on a direct flight to Toronto. Thank you very much.

I get my boarding pass and check my baggage. Bye bye, generic black suitcase full of my favourite winter clothes, footwear and miscellaneous electronic equipment accessories! See you in Toronto!

We’ve got hours to kill, but stay at Logan because heading back to the city might spell death. Or at least flight cancellation. I don’t want to take any risks. The departures boards and airline staff are within walking distance. We purchase and consume expensive, mediocre food and beverages while people-watching. We try not to get sad about our impending separation. A few weeks isn’t as bad as a few months, we say.

Finally, we kiss and hug in front of security. It is time. I pass Dave my beloved red Tweezermans because I am afraid of insane American security and refuse to have to mail back my grooming tool. I’ll go back to my wax lady for threading till our next visit. (Somehow “threading lady” doesn’t sound right.)

The laptop comes out of the protective case and backpack. Shoes join purse, sweater and jacket in another bin. Backpack goes through alone. Scan, x-ray and a wave through.

I take advantage of the bourgeois lounge. First class is fun; but not worth the money. The brie is mouldy. The hot beverages machine spits out disgusting instant hot chocolate and “cappucinos.” The Pepperidge Farm crackers and Walker’s shortbread are much appreciated, though. I fought carbolicious temptation all day but succumbed as it was helping me remain zen.

The flight is pleasant enough despite my inability to read or nap as planned. I chat with a well-meaning older man who insists on showing off his worldiness while inadvertantly essentializing me and asking me inappropriate questions. I think of getting his business card anyway. Instead we just exchange niceities. He showers me with compliments and encouragement that I lap up without guilt. At least we agree about some things.

Not a drop of sweat forms on my brow as I brave the longest customs queue I’ve seen. I had forgotten to fill out my address on my customs and declaration form; but scribble it down quick enough in front of the agent to avoid trouble. Stamp, stamp. Wave, wave.

The carousel area is chaotic. I have to pee, but go straight to the luggage since I am a seasoned traveller and they might as well call it Adrienne’s Law ‘cuz I have worse luck than Murphy. I wait and look at the tags on bags both on and off the belt. Porters fling bags off the belt because there are just too many. Too many people too. 3 flights worth of baggage is coming onto carousel 17. I see several bags with the same BOS and YYZ tag that I saw the Air Canada agent stick on mine; but my suitcase is nowhere to be found. So I go pee.

I emerge from the restroom thinking that it’s just late. The bag. Not me. Not my period. Nothing so dramatic. Zen. All is good.

And then I am the last one there from the Boston flight. There are piles of luggage around me, many a generic black suitcase, but none are mine. I don’t even want to cry or scream. It’s just all too familiar. It couldn’t be a true travel nightmare without lost baggage, right?

After I make my delayed baggage claim, I am handed a piece of paper with my reference number and a message that reminds me that 95% of delayed baggage is not lost and gets returned within 24 hours. Almost 24 hours has passed and I am still in the wrong 5%.

But still, I stay positive because I can. At least I’ve got that.

2 Responses:

  1. reesie Says:

    WOW that sounds like a total nightmare! I sympathize… Logan itself is bad enough (bad, crappy food, ugly terminals) but to have cancelled flights and then lost luggage. Good freakin’ god. Has it shown up? Hopeful with fingers crossed for you…

    I am so curious when you infer to the shadows in your life previous to finding love… But I know that’s incredibly nosy and inappropriate of me! Ha… I admit, I’m so nosy. Ok, smack me!

  2. red_wings_20 Says:

    damn girl. you are so much more patient than my crazy ass!

    i totally feel you about growning up because of your partner though. There is only so much you can learn by yourself and sometimes another pair of eyes can help you see things that you could never see yourself.

    but im praying to the luggage god for your shit to get to where it belongs.

    i think next time i’ll chant to the airplane gods too for you.

    wish you the best of luck you sassy girl, you.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.