Never in my life have I ever had a series of near flight misses like the past few days. I expected to be able to stop at some point and get some water or aspirin for my splitting headache. But I’ve not stopped once: it’s been gate to gate to gate. (And thank god for my new bag that I don’t have to check; there’s no way a bag would have made it).
After doing the walk of shame in Calgary I gained a flight: Montreal, which set itself up as a pretty good little story. Rather than send me through Boston, Air Canada decided to put me on a direct flight to Paris and cut out the US flight, but making the connecting was dependent on everything working out. Shortly before landing the captain got on the overhead speaker and said, “There are some connections from this flight [listed them]… and the person connecting to Paris: it’s going to be really really tight… everyone stay in their seat until this person is off the plane.”
That was me. We landed at Gate 2 and I had to get to Gate 60 in a matter of minutes. The plane had already boarded and was waiting.
Again, last person on the plane… and the only anglo to boot.
Then there was Paris… like something out of a really bizarre comic. I arrived and it was like there was a voice saying:
“Remain calm. You’ve been running all this time but we’re now going to ask you to suddenly stop and wait by this door with a police officer in body armour and drink wine before a little transit bus comes and drives you around the airport several times to a terminal that may be yours. Ignore all the men who are staring at you.
Then we’re going to make you go through security again but this time in a strange little room where no one speaks English, surrounded by curtains, and people arguing. But just ignore the arguing people and sit here by the x-ray machine and have tea while you chat with the lady checking your bags. She wants to know why the manufacturer of your new bag has put a little spine down the middle.”
After leaving security in Paris I stopped running; the thought of running in this surreal bubble just seemed wrong. As I walked through rows of shops filled with chocolate, perfume, and wine I realized that there’s something uniquely special and almost calming about the people in France and a night in Paris wouldn’t be a bad thing…
But alas it wouldn’t happen because I made it to the gate and once again, I was the last person on the plane (a computer “bug” had erased any record of me being on the Bangalore flight). But the benefit to flying Air France is the wine never stops flowing… the seats have built in glass holders to keep you from spilling your wine when going though turbulence.