Half-Way Point

It’s not really the half-way point. But it’s about half-way through my travel-to-London day.

Had a couple of weird moments on the flight here. The guy I sat beside looked like he resented the fact that I was taking the empty seat beside him. Now, I get that – you can get your hopes up about having an empty seat beside you. But the scowl he gave me was… unwelcoming. Then, half-way through the flight, I started coughing. Part of it was the nuts I was eating1,  part of it was the fact I’m just over a cold, and part of it was my allergies acting up in the dry airplane air. Anyway, the guy kept frowning over at me, as I struggled to drink some water and get it under control.

And then, about fifteen minutes later, he turns around in his seat and says to the guy behind him, “Stop hitting it! Just stop hitting it! It’s very distracting!” I thought the guy might have been kicking my buddy’s seat, and so I started cutting him some slack – that would be really irritating, and would make me grumpy, too.

Things calmed down then but, as we were standing up getting ready to exit the plane, my buddy pushed in front of me ((I was waiting for the aisle behind me to clear enough that I could go get my bags out of the overhead storage a couple of rows back.)) and started berating the guy seated behind him. There followed a typical angry Canadian confrontation, where both people were trying to be the most reasonable while still being angry.

Turns out that the guy beside me was complaining that the guy behind him had been tapping the touch screen on the entertainment screen too hard.

But the guys started trying to out-rank each other based on how far and how often they traveled, but escalated when the guy behind us said, “You’re from Toronto? Well, that explains everything.”2

Now, I’m sort of the third point in the triangle these two goofs are making, and I see all the other folks standing nearby watching avidly. Fortunately, it didn’t escalate any further, but one of the spectators caught up with me on the jetway and said that his money was on the first punch thrown taking me out by accident. I laughed and told him I had an escape route planned, through the galley and into the bathroom.

Then, because I wasn’t getting enough stress, I came through security here at Toronto to find that the cap of my nice pen and the small notebook it was attached to were no longer in my breast pocket after I had reloaded everything from the security routine. The pen itself was there, but the main thing I was concerned about was the notebook – it contained all the addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, bus numbers, tube routes, and train information for my trip. Most of it is up on the itinerary, but I always carry a pocket-sized hard copy on trips because you can’t always guarantee connectivity.

So, after getting a security supervisor to go back through the security line to help me look I, genius that I am, stuck my hand in my pants pocket and found both the pen cap and the notebook.

That story is for all my friends who like to hear stories about how I make an ass of myself. Enjoy.

After security, I made my way up to the British Airways business class lounge. And then left it about ten minutes later, because Elliot got in touch with me via Facebook to say he was not too far away from me, so I went to spend a half-hour or so with him.

That was nice, because I’m missing his homecoming to Winnipeg.

And then it was back to the lounge to read and have a nice dinner. Now, my plane should start boarding right away, so I’m signing off.

  1. Salty bits of nut stuck in the back of my throat. Are you reading this, Chris? []
  2. For non-Canadians – and for some Torontonians – much of the rest of Canada view Torontonians as self-centred and arrogant. Me, I know self-centred and arrogant people from all over, so I don’t judge. But this might help explain things. []

Beyond Toronto

The flight from Toronto to London was kind of surreal. I sort-of dozed through the flight, but I didn’t really seem to sleep. Uncomfortable seat, the obligatory crying baby1, and the fact that every half-hour or so the plane would run into some turbulence or the flight attendants would ask if I wanted anything or something. I must have got a little sleep, because I jerked awake when the cabin lights went on about an hour and a half before we landed so that we could be served our light continental breakfast2. Still, I made it.

Heathrow is huge.

Heathrow is bigger than the town I grew up in, both in area covered and population.

Heathrow scares me3.

I had been bemoaning the fact that I was going to be stuck at Heathrow for six hours before my fight to Dublin. Ask my friends; they’ll tell you how much I’ve been complaining. I was so certain that six hours would be enough for me to find my gate once I got there.

The place is a maze, but a well-run maze. Staff all along my migration route were quick to point me in the right direction in a friendly, helpful manner4. They made sure I got on the right bus to take me to the right terminal, and then through the right customs line, and then to the mall where I spent the rest of the time waiting for them to announce which gate I had to meet the plane at. I wound up spending about three hours in that mall area – much less than I had guessed.

Still, it was plenty of time for me to finish the book I was reading – The Magicians, by Lev Grossman5 – which was very good. I started my next book – Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey, by Chuck Wendig – on Kindle on my iPhone. His psychotic profanity and good writing advice have helped to keep me awake.

Eventually, they announced my gate, and I found it, and got on the plane, and then spent the fifty minutes or so it took for the flight trying not to nod off.

And so I am arrived in Dublin, tired and smelly, wearing the same clothes I put on twenty-seven hours previous. Shower time, then go find some food, then I will write a quick post about my first impressions of Dublin.

I’ve got a couple of pictures I want to add to this post and the previous one, but something’s not quite working with that, and I’m hungry. So, I’ll work on that later.


I’ve added the picture below, mainly for Michael. I had flashbacks, dude! I wanted to go in, straighten shelves, and count paperbacks!

  1. While it is regrettable that there was a baby crying, I can’t get too upset about it. I mean, it’s far worse for the parents, who have to deal with it. []
  2. I didn’t eat the muffin they offered, despite the fact that the dinner had actually been pretty good. My stomach knew that this was not breakfast time, and that the offer of a muffin must therefor be a filthy lie. []
  3. Okay, maybe not scares me, but it is pretty damned intimidating. []
  4. One even called me darling. []
  5. I really wanted to finish it, but I made a mistake bringing the trade paperback on this trip. Now I have to lug it around. []

On The Road

So, I’m here in the airport in Toronto. I’ve got a couple of hours to kill before my flight to London. The walk from where I arrived to my departure gate ate some time1, and was a good test for carrying my luggage. It worked great, but I think I’ll use the backpack straps when I get to Heathrow.

Grabbed a bite of lunch – got to try a Cuban sandwich, which I quite enjoyed – and had a bit of a look at the sculptures around the gate area. Maybe I’ll take some pictures of a couple in a little bit.

But for right now, I’m at a pretty interesting part in the book I’m reading: The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. Highly recommended.

More later, but probably not on this side of the Atlantic.


Added the picture of the sculpture below. Well, half the sculpture. It was mirrored on the other side, but people kept walking through the middle so I gave up on trying to get a shot of the whole thing.

  1. Though the express moving walkway was both scary and fun! []