Sunday, December 28, 2008

On The Unpredictable Merits of Overpacking

A few weeks ago I listened to a CBC radio interview with novelist Sandra Gulland [author of the Josephine B. trilogy et al] and one of the final questions was, “What do you fear?”
I will never forget her answer → “I fear being trapped in an elevator – without a book.”
I thought that last part was so neat. Trapped in an elevator is bad enough. But eegads! Without a book?
No kidding! I would much rather be shot!
Trapped anywhere without reading material would be dreadful.
[Fast forward to the events of today!]
I have been ALL DAY at airports and/or in airplanes.
Trying to get home after my holidays!
I started in Saskatoon, everything seemed to be going well. I arrived for the first leg of my journey at 10:30 in the morning and my flight was right on time. We boarded, and then sat on the tarmac for a hundred years. The pilot announced that the Toronto airport was shut down and hence, we returned to the gate. We had been on the runway, ready for take-off! We de-planed, a herd of grumbling cattle.
Hours and hours and hours passed, during which I consumed the world’s most expensive roast beef and provolone sandwich, purchased from the little kiosk in the terminal.
Also, I finished reading the old children’s classic The Enchanted Castle, by E. Nesbit.

Here is where the entire concept of forethought and overpacking come in, folks!
A true booklover always exaggerates his or her possibilities. Always presupposes Murphy’s Law is going to kick in somewhere! And today I am so thankful I was positively exaggerant. Because see, I packed along an extra book, in my carry-on luggage. This one, shown in the photo above [I am writing this from the Starbucks in the Toronto airport] July, July – by Tim O’Brien.
And I am so thankful because I have just been told that my connector flight to Ottawa is not going to leave until one o'clock a.m.
I will have spent an entire day in transitory limbo!
See, friends?
ALWAYS pack that extra book!

Now, admittedly, let’s say I had not had the appropriate forethought today… of course, I could just go to one of the many bookstores here in the airport and purchase a brand new one!
However, if the price of airport sandwiches is proportional to the cost of airport books, any new book around here is liable to cost a cool hundred smackers!
And financially speaking, I am a poor man.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have some reading to do. Plus, I am about to tie into my second ten-dollar sandwich of the day, this time a roast turkey / provolone.
I spoke too soon.
An announcement just played overhead. All flights to Ottawa for the entire night are fully cancelled altogether.
I am absolutely stranded here.
Anyone in the Toronto vicinity able to take me in for the night?
[As you can see in the photo below, I am a very low-maintenance sleeper!]
Some things…. no matter how well you overpack, are just insurmountably bad.



Beth said...

That picture sums up all that is dear to you - although the sandwich needs to be replaced with a hamburger.
You should have called from the TO airport - would have gone out to visit you. (Maybe.)

Anonymous said...

Yay for overpacking! Read slowly though. By the sound of it you may need to get through another day before you make it home.

Cipriano said...

Next time I am in such Dire Straits [what a great band!] I shall surely call you! BE YE WARNED!

It was an arduous adventure.
But hey..... the merits of overpacking cannot be exaggerated!