Saturday, September 10, 2016

An Open Letter to the Passengers on my Lufthansa Flight

Let me start by saying that you were all wonderful. No really, fantastic. All of you. 
Yes, even the two teenage boys in the row right in front of me. It was okay that you kept your seats all the way back, even through the meals, and that you were restless. I understand. It was a very, very long flight. But taking off your shoes and sticking your feet up over the headrest, that was not okay. Your socks positively reeked. It took me a while to figure out that the obnoxious stench wafting through the plane was actually the ripe odor of your apparently dirty teenage feet and socks. 
I didn’t complain because you were kids, but I do think your parents across the aisle should have.

I also won’t complain about the young couple with the baby two rows in front of me. Actually, I liked your dreadlocks, casual attitude to baby-rearing, and your personal clothing style. All was good. 
But–guys, seriously. If you travel long distances with an infant, I have a suggestion: 
Pack all your baby stuff in one bag. Really, it’s not difficult. That way, you’ll have everything in one bloody place, and you won’t have to climb on other passengers’ seats or armrests to dig through your three bags in the overhead bin while dear dads trousers slipped and showed off your pubic hair to your hapless fellow travelers. We really didn’t want to see that, and certainly not every thirty minutes. Those diapers, crackers, bottles, baby food, and pacifiers would have been so much happier together in one bag stowed under the seat in front of you. 

And to the sweet elderly Italian lady next to me: You would have felt much better if you’d accepted and drunk the water and juice they kept offering us. Yes, I know you felt dizzy; trust me, it’s called dehydration. 
And that medical emergency: “Is there a doctor or nurse aboard?” came over the PA while we were flying over Greenland with nothing below us but rocks, ice, and snow,
I was picturing a rough emergency landing in Goose Bay or some other God-forsaken glacier-surrounded village, but thankfully the emergency passed, and we flew on.

So, dear passengers, thank you for such an exciting flight. 
I could have done without the smelly socks, the exposed lower belly, and the dizzy old lady, but the food was great, the service was friendly, and we were on time. 

What more can one expect? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hello, Again, Hello!

Once again I’m packed… 
Tomorrow I leave on another trip across the ocean to visit friends in Canada and America. 
This is my fourth big trips on my own, and I thought I’d be cooler about it by now, but no; last night was pretty sleepless, and I’m sure tonight will be as well. 
This morning, as I was packing, I thought of fellow writer Ellie Dias and her upcoming book, Big Red, her affectionate name for the huge suitcase she lugged—stuffed to the gills—through airports around the globe. 
My husband, walking past me as I was packing, pointed at my rubber boots and rain jacket, and said, “Since you’re packing those I expect the weather in Tofino to be very nice and sunny and warm. You do know Murphy’s Law, right?”
He has a point; and I have a heavy suitcase.
Yes, it’s heavy, but I’m traveling for five weeks. And now that I’m sixty I figure that I’m entitled to an extra change of shirts, jeans, or shoes.
Ah, shoes. I remember traveling with the pair I was wearing, and one pair of sandals. That was all I needed. But now? Won’t work. My feet are old, too. They need respite. Oh well. They’ve carried me through sixty years on this planet of ours, I suppose I should be kind to them.

Where am I going this time?
Back to Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Sue had to bribe me into visiting her in 2011. She came all the way to London to pick me up and then worked the flight back to Vancouver (she was a flight attendant for Air Canada) because I was so afraid of making that long flight.

Now, I can’t wait to get on that plane so I can go hang out with her. She’s such a great friend, funny, patient, incredibly talented—especially with her camera—and her family is a riot of kids, and high spirits. Being with them is like being immersed in a big Irish family–which they in fact are. 
And Tofino! Don’t get me started. 

I remember how Sue and I stepped out on Chesterman Beach for the first time, and we both caught our breaths. I never wanted to leave. I could easily have turned into one of those driftwood tree boles and sat there just watching the ocean for eternity. I hadn’t expected the Pacific to be so different from the Atlantic, but it is.  

Then, for the first time ever, I’ll visit Texas!
My dear friend Sharon is waiting there for me, and I can’t wait to finally meet her in person. She had read my books and posted to my Facebook author page about how much she loved my writing, and we took it from there. 
Now I’m going to visit her and I hope she won’t be disappointed. I’m just a fat, old granny in real life. 

Patsy is in Orlando, and she’s my third stop this year.
I’ll be honest, I never expected to visit Florida, let alone have someone invite me there! 
But Patsy and I and my other homies in our little twitter group, we chat daily, and have been twitter friends for so long, that I have to admit I’m crazy excited about meeting her in person. 
Patsy, to me, is a cross between the Angela girl from Bones on TV and Joan Baez: Quirky, very musical, a bit eccentric, funny, a girl who loves life. I think we will have an amazing time together.

As always, my last stop will be glorious New Jersey.
I know, I can hear you moan, and you have every reason to. It’s really an incredibly boring place. And the highways? OMG ROAD RAGE!
But my dear friend and publisher resides there, and so, to me, it’s a fabulous place. How can I travel to America and not visit Buddhapuss Ink? Right?
And have lunch with her and my author buddy Sam Hilliard in Princeton?

So–here we are. One more night, and I’ll be on my way to the sky. 

“Hello again, America, hello, again, hello.”