Monday, March 05, 2007

Blogging T.O., Part One

Here’s a little secret about writing about a really bad trip: other people don’t want to hear about your really bad trip. You want to recount in painstaking detail everything that went wrong, so cathartic would it be; but your readers, love you though they may, really find retracing those steps as excruciating as a trip to the dentist.

Therefore, let me cut to the chase and put us all out of our misery: worst snowstorm to hit Toronto in years. Me, flew into it. 2 hours on tarmac at Montrèal after changing planes. 1.5 hours on tarmac in Toronto while they cleared snow so we could access our gate.

That’s the big picture. The details I’ll only fill in about the (slightly) interesting elements.

We had flown from beautiful, sunny Fredericton into Montrèal (across from me, a Concordia University student who dutifully took out her “Understanding Macroeconomics” textbook, and then spent the 1.5 hour flight doing Sudoku puzzles). In Montrèal, after boarding and waiting way too long at the gate, we were told that our “window had closed” for landing in Toronto because of a vicious storm lashing the region, but they needed the gate for another plane, so we were going to taxi to the tarmac and wait. (For another “window”, I guess.) Estimated time: 1.5 to 2 hours.

And it was there, then, that I was idly thinking, well, at least they’d have had lots of time to transfer the bags so they shouldn’t lose my little checked bag in the transfer between the Fredericton-Montrèal flight and the Montrèal-Toronto flight, when all of a sudden, it hit me, like a ton of bricks.

I’d packed my CI battery charger and spare batteries in my checked luggage.

How could I have been so stupid? What was I thinking? Without the batteries, there was no CI. I would never in a million years pack the processor into checked airline luggage. Instead, I packed its life-support system into checked luggage.

I mean, I know what I was thinking. I packed them in the same place that I have ever since I’ve gotten them, a nice safe place cushioned in the lid of my bag. But every time I’ve travelled since I got the CI has been by land, and the bag hasn’t been out of my possession. This time, my two pieces of carry-on were my laptop and my purse, and my roller-bag went in the cargo hold. And I had packed, as usual – unthinkingly – with my battery charger and my two spare batteries in the lid.

I spent the next two hours on that tarmac, and the following hour in flight, fretting and panicking and working scenarios. What if they lost my bag? How long would it take to get a replacement battery charger and batteries? I’d be deaf until they arrived. And OH! the COST! the unnecessary COST! And what would I say to Husband? And to the people at work? While I was deaf, while I was waiting? What a stupid, thoughtless thing to do!

Agony. Followed by hurried mental reassurances that they wouldn’t lose my bag, they’d never lost one of my bags, even when I’d changed planes twice. It would be there in Toronto. It would. It would.

And it was. But what a lesson! From now on, even though it will be troublesome and complicated to explain to Security what this unusual electronic stuff in my carry-on is, from now on when I fly they travel with ME.

And then, as mentioned, we arrived into one of the worst blizzards Toronto has seen all winter. The airport was chaos, transportation to the downtown was chaos.

I was staying at the Intercontinental Snooty Toronto Centre (all right, I made up the Snooty part), a swank place that I could never afford if someone else (and I mean someone with more money than my organization – we’re sponsored for this conference) wasn’t paying for it.

I asked for a deaf kit at check-in (I had not pre-ordered one) and they sent one right to my room. I was dismayed to find they’d done something I’d already discovered at one other hotel earlier – they use the “CC” button on the remote control to call up the hotel’s internal telly menu. In other words, if you press the “CC” button on your remote, instead of offering closed-captioning options, it calls up a channel listing the hotel services, pay-per-view movies, games, etc. menu. I know it is intentional because in both cases written instructions on the TV said to press “CC” to get the hotel menu.

But I asked at the front desk the next morning if someone could activate the CC on my telly and when I got back that night the TV was on and the CC was working.

And on the flight back? Word of honour - they lost my bag. I'm waiting for them to call now. But I didn't make the same mistake twice - my battery charger is with me.

Next post: the actual visit, or what happens when ice starts to fall off a 1/2-km tall building.


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Blogger Xtreme English said...

Omigod!...what a disaster. Too much stress for any one person!! Are you still unwired or have you found another charger/set of batteries?

too bad you got all the snow up there. we could have used some down here.

hang loose...and i hope they find and deliver your bag asap!


4:30 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Hi Mary Ellen!
Sorry - a piece of bad writing on my part. I didn't make it clear that when they lost my bag on the way back, I had learned from my mistake and I had the battery charger in my carry-on bag! I have edited the post to make it clear now.

I'm excited to be back online and have been following your CI surgery updates. Glad to hear things went well!


7:19 p.m.  

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