The neurosis kicks in. It was three hours before the connecting flight was scheduled to take off. I pat myself down, the 146th time to ensure that yes, I do have my plane ticket. I unfold it, and read Gate 76 for the 78th time. I go through customs. I sweat, I shake. Wallet, belt, jacket, change everything prepared well in advance of the metal detector. Can the customs agents sense my anxiety? Are they going to take me aside, pat me down, ask me questions? Not this time, phew. I pass through customs with ease.
Zoom I go through long airport hallways, zinging playfully on automated walkways. A spring in my step, the adventure slowly continues. Gate 71-91 to the left. Gate 71, 72, 73, 74, I stop at magazine stand, buy a Rolling Stones magazine, a bunch of gum, a bag of Doritos and a Coca Cola. Gate 75... here I am, Gate 76. Now I sit and wait, only 2 and a half more hours until I am back in the air. Bliss. A notebook, or some Kerouac, I am On the Road, those would be my guesses.
"Canada 2000 Flight 216 is now preparing for preboarding. If you are a 1st class ticket holder, or need assistance with boarding our aircraft, please make your way to the boarding desk now. An announcement will be made soon for regular boarding. Thank you."
My heart begins to pound. It won't be long now. I chomp furiously on my gum, pat myself down for ticket the 576th time. Nope it won't be long until, whosh, off I will zoom to Edmonton. Do I have time for one last smoke? Am I addicted already? That is a story for another day. I better stick with gum, who needs the stress of trying to find a smoking section? Pop, chomp.
Seat 36F, a window seat, score! Smush, I stuff my backpack under the seat in front of me. Chomp, chomp, chomp, nervously I load more gum into my mouth. I put on my headphones, I press play on my yellow Sports Walkman. A mixed tape, Beastie Boys, perhaps some New Order. The stewardess, who was doing the rounds, checking seatbelts, making sure the overhead luggage was secure, politely asks me to please take off the headphones until after the safety demonstration was over and the plane had left the ground. Drats, they catch me every time. Who really watches and listens to that silly display anyway? Damn them and their rules. I comply, of course, there was no need to piss off the stewardess, I might want a drink later.