Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Flying From O'Hare To Pearson

We all board and the captain comes on the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, we just have a minor maintenance issue before we take off. We seem to be missing a couple of bolts on one of the wheels so we’re gonna try and take care of that.”

You go right ahead and secure those wheel bolts. I don’t think I mind waiting for you to ensure all the wheels are securely on the plane before we mosey on out of here. That seems pretty important.

I’m sitting in my window seat and some Asian chick occupies the aisle seat. Nothing better than the middle seat being empty. So I get comfortable. I can stretch and air out my boys, which I desperately needed after being crammed into a charter plane for an hour and a half, then sitting in the same sweaty clothes for the next two hours in the terminal as I waited for my connecting flight because anything else I could have changed into was in my checked baggage. So the fact that the middle seat of my row is unoccupied means I get an extra half seat, and thereby unobstructed stretching space that I didn’t pay for. Thanks, United.

Ten minutes later, the captain pops on the intercom again:

“I know it’s a bit stuffy in the back there and I do apologize. If I turn on the AC, the exhaust comes out right where the mechanic is working under the plane, so we’re gonna hold off for just a few more minutes.” Then, as if some sort of sick joke, he immediately turns on the AC. I’m sure the mechanic is pissed at this and his revenge will be not only to loosen the wheel bolts, but completely remove the tires.

Luckily, he didn’t remove the tires (as far as I could tell) and we were off.

The flight went pretty smooth, except when they turned the seatbelt sign on in preparation for landing and someone got up to use the washroom. The flight attendant pipes up, “Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot land if any passengers are in the lavatory.”

This sounds like a catch-22. My immediate thought is, “As long as you’re not landing, I’m going to use the washroom.”

I turned my phone on mid-flight and you know what happened? Nothing. Well… except for the fact that the Asian lady looked at me with wide eyes because she probably thought I was trying to make the plane crash by interfering with its radio frequencies, absolutely nothing.

The captain comes on again. “”Folks, we’re just waiting for the ground crew to come out and guide us into the gate. If you could please remain seated. I can’t move the aircraft if anyone is standing,” similar to the “can’t land if someone is in the washroom” rule. It also seems akin to that line painted on the floor at the front of the bus and the sign that says “This bus will not operate if any passengers are standing ahead of the white line.” Like if you just snuck a toe over, the bus would automatically come to a screeching halt. I have to assume if we’re not moving, it’s because someone is partways out of their chair and the captain is throwing his hands up in defeat, confused as to why the plane won’t move*.
*Refer to the following pie chart to understand what kind of idea the captain has as to why his controls have locked up:

As we’re pulling in, I fill out my Customs card. Which has this YES/NO checkbox on it: “I am/we are bringing into Canada: firearms or other weapons (e.g. switchblade, mace or pepper spray).

Seriously? Do they have switchblade-sniffing dogs? My friend once brought a butterfly knife back from China. Do you think he declared it? Shit no. Why? Because he’s not an idiot. What’s the point of smuggling weapons into the country if you’re only going to hand them over to Customs?

It’s like when you go through security and they tell you to “leave all gifts unwrapped,” presumably because they need to check for drugs. Do they think I would wrap a pound of marijuana in Christmas paper, try to pass it off as a book, then act confused as to where my book went when they discover the drugs? Or is it just that the TSA wants their employees to refrain from opening everybody’s Christmas presents on the way through security?

Once we park, everyone tries to grab their carry-on crap from the overhead and rush the door at once. Which is funny to see, but the problem I have is people who were seated behind me trying to get out before me. What kind of elitist bullshit is this? Wait your damn turn.

Once I finally get off the plane, I head to customs. Is it just me, or when you’re walking on the moving sidewalk, doesn’t it feel like you’re superhuman for a second and your superpower is fast walking? I love that.

Customs was a breeze. And by breeze, I mean joke. I didn’t declare a giant bottle of Jim Beam in my luggage and you know what happened? Absolutely nothing.

So I get to the baggage claim area. And I check the screen to see which carousel to go to, although I probably could have guessed by the fact that none of the other carousels are moving and there’s about 100 people crowded around number 12.

(Sidenote: I overhear this genius on the phone with a locksmith at baggage claim: He decided that, before he left for his trip, he would secure his apartment by locking it and dropping his house keys through the mail slot, thereby leaving them in his house and assuring himself that no one would be able to enter. Forgetting of course that, when he got home, he would be locked out of his house. Hilarious. Stupid but hilarious. But stupid.)

Everyone is crowded around the carousel as suitcases slowly start to come in. At this point, standing around at the baggage carousel and spotting your bag is like winning the lottery. “Come on, red suitcase full of undeclared liquor!” And you know those little tags and baubles that people put on their bags to identify them? I switch them around.

So I’m waiting… waiting… waiting for my bag. And I keep seeing the same bag coming around. And I think, Where is this idiot? You’d think after two or three spins, he would recognize his bag? If I comes by again, I’m snatching it.

And this Asian guy beside me… he keeps following the bag with his eyes, but not actually leaning to inspect or take it. I assume he must be considering stealing it too. The question is, which one of us will have the guts to steal it first?

I found my bag, so I didn’t stick around to find out. I paused only to make sure my whiskey was intact and I headed home.


I shot this while I was snowed in at O'Hare on the way to Memphis.


  1. Did you really shoot that or just find it somewhere and claim it as your own?
    Where did you go?!

    Oh, my favourite bit was: Overhearing the guy who locked his keys in his house.

  2. Who is KittyJINX, and why are they accusing of YouTube theft? Do retards actually post videos that obviously aren't theirs and claim otherwise? "Here! Look at this video I shot myself!!"

    Good thing we have people to watch out for YouTube theft. Anyway, do you realize how many times we put our lives in the hands of our fellow man? One fucker doesn't screw on a wheel, you try to land,and splat on the runway you go. Your blog reminded me just how much I hate people, yet at the same time showed me how the good in people can be brought out when it's needed, so to sum it up, I'm confused.