ATTENTION PASSENGERS ON FLIGHT 456 TO LAS VEGAS, IF ANYONE HAS FLEXIBLE TRAVEL PLANS, WE ARE OFFERING A $300 VOUCHER AND A FLIGHT TOMORROW AFTERNOON IF YOU WILL GIVE UP YOUR SEATS TODAY. A COUPLE WOULD BE PREFERABLE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.
"Sometimes I want to sing in situations like this... do you think anyone would mind if I just started singing?" I whispered to J as we stood in front of the airline kiosk at the airport.
"I don't think they'd mind necessarily; in fact, they'd probably clap for you."
I smiled up at him and winked. We had arrived at the airport with plenty of time; despite people arriving every few minutes and running up with desperately flushed faces, to beg of the desk attendant,
"Did we miss our flight to Boston?"
"No. We haven't even boarded your flight yet. The plane is being fixed."
"But the board behind you says---"
"I have no control over the marquis behind me. All I can tell you is that you haven't missed your flight."
It didn't help matters that the board behind the desk was flashing "Boarding," for our gate... but to a different, nay rhyming city: Austin--since this was the next flight scheduled to depart from our gate: B-12..... which made me think simultaneously of vitamins and bingo....
ATTENTION PASSENGERS WAITING TO BOARD FLIGHT 123 to BOSTON: THE PLANE HAS ARRIVED, BUT HAS A PART THAT NEEDS INSTALLATION. HOPEFULLY WE'LL ONLY HAVE YOU WAITING AN HOUR AND A HALF AT THE MOST IF YOU DO NOT BOARD SOONER. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
Another late-comer runs up to the kiosk, looking bewildered. She is an elderly woman, of about 70 and she seems disgruntled.
"How may I help you?" states the blonde flight attendant cheerfully, if ruefully asks as she sees the woman.
"We have been waiting for half an hour and you've not given us any credible information about our flight, and I demand to know what is going on," said the blue-haired lady in slightly condescending tones.
"Ma'am, I know that you've been waiting and I appreciate your patience, but you know as much as I do about what's going on. They've not fixed the plane yet, though it is here."
"Well, I don't SEE it."
"That's because it's not at the gate. Please have patience."
"But you just said it's here,"
"It IS here. Here as in, at the airport. Being FIXED. In MAINTENANCE."
"Excuse me. What do I do?" An elderly gentleman steps up to the left of the lady, gently eclipsing her at the elbow, he leans over with a worried look at the desk attendant.
"Pardon me sir? Your plane is over there at Gate B-11 and it will be boarding in approximately 15 minutes, so if you'll just have a seat---"
"But I don't know what to DO! What do you mean boarding? How do I get on the plane?"
"Sir, do you see that small podium by the doors with the big numbers B-11 overhead?"
"Well, when you hear the announcement that your flight is boarding, you'll walk over to that podium, the attendant will take your ticket, and you'll get on the plane."
"But that's just a doorway."
"Right. We call it a gate. You'll walk through the gate doors down the ramp which leads to the plane door and then you'll take your seat, ok?"
"Oh. All right. Thank you. I'm just worried I guess. I'm 88 and I've never flown anywhere."
"I'm sure you'll do just fine sir, won't you have a ---"
"EXCUSE ME but I STILL don't see why we haven't boarded yet. We've been waiting here for---" the blue-haired lady would have no more of this being upstaged by an old codger who didn't know where he was.
"MA'AM, I have already explained that I have nothing more to tell you. You'll simply have to wait. Please have a seat and as soon as I know something, I'll inform you with an announcement," the blonde attendant finished resignedly. She looked exhausted.
I admired her patience in dealing with the cranky customers and the line of people waiting to fly to Boston and Austin who kept running up every few minutes to re-read the faulty marquis and ask AGAIN if they had missed their flight, as well as the late-new-comers who were also asking that question.
ATTENTION AGAIN, PASSENGERS WAITING TO BOARD FLIGHT 456 TO VEGAS, PLEASE, IF YOU HAVE FLEXIBLE HOLIDAY TRAVEL PLANS, WE NEED TWO SEATS TO BE GIVEN UP FOR TODAY'S FLIGHT. WE CAN GET YOU OUT TOMORROW AFTERNOON ON A DIFFERENT FLIGHT, AND WE'RE OFFERING A $500 VOUCHER. THANK YOU.
Meanwhile, two children, toddlers, had begun exploring the holiday decorations at our gate.
There was a gingerbread house which was fairly large, like a big doghouse. It had a crayon drawing of a gingerbread man in the tiny cut-out doorway, and real glass panes in the windows. It was edged in what must've been pom-poms, but now were only small tufts of fur randomly stuck to hardened crusty pools of dried hot glue.
The blond attendant explained that kids had been trying to eat the pom-poms, so she'd pulled all of them off.
Soon, the two kids discovered that if they shoved the gingerbread man aside, they could squeeze through the cut-out door.
The small boy in particular, kept crawling inside the house despite his mother's half-serious protests.
A couple next to us watching this parade of in-and-out-and-in-again discovered that the top of the house could be lifted-- so were the child to refuse to exit, the roof would be raised and his mother could scoop him out.
Soon, a few other kiddos discovered that there was a nifty new hiding place and a parade to get inside the house began.
The blond attendant, who'd been distracted by a phone call while this was going on, suddenly realized that the decorations were being played with.
"PLEASE DO NOT PLAY IN THE PLAYHOUSE! It's for DECORATION ONLY!" She then proceeded to give the small boy's mother a lecture about losing fingers, splinters and safety.
Two dads came to the rescue and evacuated all the kiddos... the little boy kept trying to wriggle from his mother's grasp to return to the gingerbread house.
He was greatly disappointed when she denied him the chance.
We were eventually allowed to board our plane at 12:45 PM (it had been scheduled to leave at 10:30 AM).
We made it through the de-icing station to the runway; only to discover that we could not take off because our engines would not fire. So, we were towed back to our gate.
Then our pilot spoke with the mechanic, who suggested he shift into neutral and rev the engines... which he did. It was so cold out, that they wouldn't start right up.
Then we went back to be de-iced, and eventually we took off at 1:45 or so.
YAAAAY CHRISTMAS TRAVEL PLANS!!!
So, I last wrote on November 13th, 2012 and since then many things have happened:
1) A LOVELY Thanksgiving with my Mum, J, his brother and girlfriend and myself.
2) Second Thanksgiving at J's step-mom's house.
3) Mad rehearsing for our upcoming Bach concert.
4) A horrible flu that landed me in the ER.
5) A miraculous recovery in time to fly to my folks' home for Christmas.
6) A FABULOUS Christmas dinner, for which I made from scratch (all organic, gluten-free, corn and canola free and mostly vegan with butter being the only non-vegan ingredient in a few things because we ran out of coconut oil):
2 green bean casseroles
2 pumpkin pies
1 chocolate cream pie
1 huge bowl of mashed potatoes
1 huge amount of cranberry sauce
1 extra-large pan of stuffing
1 huge pan of candied yams
1 large sauce pan of vegan gravy
1 enormous batch of chocolate molasses caramels
1 enormous batch of chocolate chip cookies (some with pecans, some without)
1 big bowl of vegan whipped cream (coconut cream, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup)
7) A lovely low key New Year's Eve last night, which consisted of dinner, prosecco and reading Terry Pratchet's "Snuff," aloud while snuggling with our giant dats.
Don't forget to light your bayberry candles, eat your black-eyed peas and to run to the back door and kick the old year out, then race to the front door to welcome the new year in!