Sunday, October 9, 2005

Laura in Dallas

Due to a mechanical problem in the new Embraer 175’s lavatory, Air Canada has given me a free drink. This is likely not worth the 1.5 hours of sleep I’ve lost, though the fact that the flight attendant recognized me and thought it was “good to see me again” didn’t hurt.

Things I learned this weekend playing Trivial pursuit.
1) A baby beaver is called neither a beavlet nor a wee-beav, but a kit. I think.
2) A “button hook” is a football play.
3) An allen-key hole is a hexagon, not an octagon.
4) Barb will always beat me at Trivial pursuit until they invent a geography category.

This plane is filled with business men named Bob, but Bob is now dressed in a loose ugly T-shirt (sports slogan) to cover the protruding belly, jeans, and running shoes. This is because it’s an evening flight, and Bob’s suit is in his luggage, stowed in overhead bins, heavier items under the seats in front of Bob.

The package of cashews I just ate has 300 calories, and 40% of my daily fat requirements, so I’m relieved to learn that I won’t starve.

The seat in front of me says: “Coming soon to this space in front of you: a digital audio/video system YOU can control.” That’s right, ME. I do not know why I don’t always spell that with capitals, like I. ME. Please give ME another drink. This delay is too long for ME, please give ME lots of airmiles. Please buy lots of optical equipment from ME.

The man across from ME is playing Free-cell. I may do the same. I just finished playing a free-download game involving popping groups of colourful bubbles to makem’ disappear. Very complex and strategic.

In the extended portion of Toronto’s Terminal 2 there is a restaurant called Quayside. This fact introduces two topics for debate. 1) Should a restaurant called Quayside exist if it serves no seafood products whatsoever? 2) How many dishes need a restaurant serve before it is actually a restaurant. And if the number is insufficient, is it a bar? A restlet? A wee-rest? Or a kit?

The man across from me got a free rum & coke from Air Canada, but only drank the coke. (Ed. note: I would only drink the rum). He is taking the rum home for his wife as a gift. In return, she’ll buy him more sports T-shirts and help him match his belt to his shoes.

In Toronto, there are more good-looking people (per-capita, based on scientific studies) than in Ottawa. Why is this? First, there are more hard-core career-oriented people, who groom and dress up for work every day. Secondly, there is more fashion going on. This leads to metrosexuality, which is a movement to promote grooming among men. In fact, I know several who can match their own belts to shoes. Finally (third, if you lost track), there are more single people, partially because of their career-orientation, partially because of their urban, non-traditional values. Thus, they are more prone to maintaining their looks to attract members of the opposite sex. Don’t blame me for prejudice here, I’m quoting studies[i].

Meanwhile, the rum man next to me, who has given up on Freecell, is cleaning his watch by licking it.

Last week, in Shaumberg, Illinois, Angela, a Latina colleague, attempted to teach me to dance to regeton music. My dreams of a Latin dance career were dashed. My spelling of regeton is also questionable.

The meaning of the “seatbelt sign” eludes many. They debate over whether it means a) everyone else should stay seated with their seatbelts fastened or b) I too must abide by said sign. They circle a) on their mind’s multiple choice card, and go the washroom, filled with pride.

In Toronto, I was not immediately able to seize the pole of power, into which you plug in your laptop. Luckily, I’m a vulture, so I got an extra (4 extra hours) battery from Anne-Marie in HR, who got it from a laid-off person. While at the pole of power, I shared the waiting area with a woman doing yoga while her kids ran around. Sometimes it’s tough to juggle priorities.

I have won freecell, yet sheer glee eludes me.

When I arrived in DFW terminal D, I thought it might become my new favourite place. Chairs in the waiting area are in pods, walls carpeted, muted colours, shiny floors, and Asian influence. (Ed note: I have not been to Asia).

When I returned for departure, the only line was for Texans going to Cancún (Funjet Vacations). They stood in the middle of the check-in area, 2x2 in a tight, self-defined space, as if encircled by an electric dog fence. Questions in Laura’s 5am mind: 1) For what do they wait? 2) Why do Texans go to Cancún in October?

Through security, my feelings for D were confirmed. While the old terminal has distant McDonalds and Burger King for breakfast, this one has an Einstein Bros. (EB). Brief interlude on EB: It is a good bagel place with yummy whipped cream cheese. Flavour of the month: buttery pumpkin. This stuff, especially compared to average Texan food, is poetry-worthy, melted creamy goodness with a light bubbly texture. (Ed note: as I write this, my arm rests on the roll of fat that hangs over my pants). So imagine my elation in terminal D. Then imagine my disappointment (ok, strong apathy) upon learning that neither flavoured cream cheeses nor cappuccino is available here.

A headline on the paper says: Sex offenders go missing after Hurricane Katrina. I guess it was previously supposed that said offenders were not prone to having their homes flood and drowning like others? Or perhaps we’ve learned that sex offenders dissolve? Have we searched playgrounds near the superdome? Essay question: Don’t we want them missing?

My thoughts on sex offenders are interrupted by a mental review of why cream cheese should always be whipped. It just shows you care.

Inventory of plane: 9 white business men, 2 WB women, 1 couple (they work in high tech) going on first trip together, home to meet his family, 1 Indian mother and daughter returning from trip to visit son/brother in Dallas, one spoiled blond who saunters onto plane 5 min after final boarding call wearing pink JC joggers, 2 male pilot types, 2 female flight attendants, black luggage, blue seats, 2 lavatories (currently functional), food trolleys. Embraer 175 still filling in for regional jet.

The sun rises over the Dallas horizon, reminding me of an oil slick. Art imitating life? It is announced that for $2 I can purchase a pretzel stick with honey/mustard dip. It is 6:50am. The man behind me makes slurping noises; though no food has yet been served he’s clearly excited about the honey/mustard combo.

I am performing a stress test on my luggage to determine it’s Asia-trip suitability. There is a board game called cocktailopoly (Ed note: I don’t have a problem) which is squished in there diagonally, causing much stretching. Will the suitcase last 2 flights burst-free? The suspense is bewildering.

One flight attendant says to the other that she forgot a trolley on the bridge. I guess this is like when I forgot my fake Chanels in my hotel room. So please decrement the trolley count in airplane inventory.

The man in front of me is buying salsa and chips. It is now 7:02 am. He must not like whipped cream cheese. Freak. He is now taking pictures of the sunrise, the clouds, the fog, and getting too excited and coughing. So we’re down to 8 white business men, 1 leisure traveler TBD.

In the lavatory I notice that my eyebrows are unruly. I hope this doesn’t impact my ability to traverse customs.

Upon opening hand-cream bottle, it explodes all over me (due to pressure change). Is my body affected in the same way? Eyebrows now tamed, skin moistened.

In my wallet there is a receipt for hot tea from a Marriott cafeteria. I do not drink hot tea, nor have I stayed in a Marriott recently.

In changing my watch, I erroneously moved the date ahead 5 days, speeding through time.

Update: I now believe that regetón has an accent on the ó.

[i] Footnote: Studies showing people from Toronto are good-looking. TBD.