Air Canada’s New Motto: “You’re Halfway Home. Sorry About That”

We left Mexico yesterday which basically took all day. Our flight was delayed about seven times and we were moved to as many gates. The official word from Air Canada and our pilots was that the weather above Cancun was so severe that they had to circle like seagulls above a French fry factory and had to pull up from an attempted landing. The flight was diverted for refueling but it all sounds fishy to me as each and every other flight landed and took off without excuse. My theory is no one in the cockpit knew where the windshield wiper button was.

Many would be pleased to be stranded in Mexico but I would remind you that it was an airport. I had to buy a twenty-five dollar (not peso) cheeseburger and the guy who brought my bill had the gall to ask if I wanted to make a donation to his thirty-five foot walk-a-thon between the kitchen and my table. I smiled and said “no thanks; the foreplay was enough.”

We walked around the airport shops marveling mainly at prices. I could have bought sunglasses but there was bugger all to see. I bought two hundred cigarettes but there was nowhere to smoke them. I could have bought a watch to keep track of the fact that my connecting flight was airborne before I was even in Canada. I should have bought cologne or perfume for whoever ended up seated near me thinking air between their toes was more important than what I was breathing.

When I finally boarded the plane I thought it was a special aircraft that they send when customers are screwed over. The beds and blankets weren’t meant for me. I got a seat belt and a life preserver I would have to inflate with my mouth. I doubted I would have to use them with puddle phobic pilots. I was clinging to my seat most of the way home as I assumed we would be diverted to Florida when they saw snow banks in Toronto. I found myself staring at the pictures of a cigarette with a big red X through them. We all know you can’t smoke in an airplane but to put it in perspective, consider yourself very thirsty with forty or fifty pictures of bottled water with a red X through them. If anything it is a reminder of your thirst and I do believe airlines are subliminally torturing smokers.

The trip home wasn’t a total washout. I got to see part of a half dozen movies on people’s headrests so I know the end of a few. The Air Canada employees in Toronto were as friendly as fossils when they put us up in a hotel for three hours. I don’t usually complain about two double beds but in this case I’m pretty sure it was to confuse the bedbugs.

I hope I don’t sound too bitter as it was a great vacation but it ended with disillusionment stacked on disappointment. I was awake for over 30 hours and I caught the cold the guy beside me was spraying into his hand he thought was somehow hermetically sealed. It’s nothing a little chain smoking won’t fix. Air Can’tada was kind enough to buy me a Tim Horton’s coffee so I’m pretty much Canadian again and that I don’t mind.

Personal Attributes and Ignorances

I am often confused and slightly amused when someone says “the Mexican people are so friendly” or “Newfoundlanders are funny.” To say such a thing either positive or negative about a race, country or community is asinine. Does God sit in heaven with a sifter and sprinkle “good” people on certain continents and thieves and liars on others? If Mexico has been sieved of the sorry side of human nature why do the police carry sub-machine guns? Pleasantness isn’t the domain of a people or population it is found only in individuals. If geography makes you good, better or even friendly it denies each of us grace and goodness on a personal level. On some level to speak favourably about an entire nation is the result of a preconceived notion somewhat to the contrary.

Vacationland offers a distorted view of locals. Many of these individuals are actually paid to be pleasant and further the more pleasant they are the higher the likelihood that they will receive further funds for being so. I am told most of the staff here are paid six dollars a day. A typical gratuity is one American dollar. If an individual can double their take home pay by saying “good day,” “good night,” or “God Bless” they are likely to do just that.

Growing up in jail I have a slight ability to spot a jerk from about fifteen feet. I usually let them confirm with words and deeds. Today some dink with a dollar who couldn’t possibly be from Canada pulled a bill from his shorts and tried to jump the line of thirsty vacationers. This individual seemed to think decency and decorum could be bypassed with a buck. I wasn’t in line so I let him be but it was sad to see that he stood for one of the smallest denominations a nation could print on paper.

A nation, race, community or culture is not the basis of ignorance, it is a personal defect. If you are in possession of ignorance it does not matter where you were born, the anthem you sing or where you move to. There is no such thing as “all inclusive” even at a resort.