Don’t forget to read Part One first! It’s how these things work.
This is what I woke up to after my first night in Calgary:
I’m Canadian. This really is nothing to cry about. But remember what I was coming from the day before in Vancouver:
So yeah, I was a little pissed.
I tried to not let it set the tone for the time I spent in Calgary, but honestly, it was a miserable three days. My feet were soaked most of the time since I didn’t have winter boots with me (and before you say, but I thought you were Little Miss Weather-Know-It-All, you’re right. I am. The forecast changed, jerk) and the rental car had the dinkiest snow brush I have ever seen. It was like scraping a foot of snow off the car with a toothbrush. Work was fine, but the weather got me in a funk and I spent a lot of time indoors.
Forever Twenty Young and Stupid
Remember in Part One I mentioned my fraying dress pants? I went on a hunt to find some new ones. At Chinook Centre, Calgary’s big mall, I wandered in and out of women’s clothing stores looking for decently priced, black, boot cut dress pants with an elastic waistband (if I’m going to be professional, I’m going to be comfortable, damn it!). I wasn’t having any luck. It’s like people want their pants to zip up! Weird. I knew I’d be able to find my usual pair at Reitmans (“Real clothes for real life” people!), but to kill some time, I decided to humour myself and explore other options first.
That’s when I made the mistake of going to Forever XXI.*
*People who have me on Facebook already know the punch line. I re-use my own material. I’m a hack.
If you’re not familiar with the store, the name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s hip. It’s trendy. It has some cute stuff for great prices. The name is a bit depressing though, no? It seems to imply that if you shop there, you’re trying desperately to hang on to your youth. It’s openly mocking us! But then I see a sweet flowy shirt screaming my name and I take a drink from the fountain.
Also, apparently at age 21, nobody has hips. You’re telling me I’m an XL?? OH HELLS NO. I’m a medium at Joe Fresh, you fuckers.
Remember, I was looking for dress pants. After a bit of browsing, I couldn’t find any. I approached a young, female employee. “Excuse me. Would you be able to tell me where I can find some dress pants?”
Bright-eyed and cheery, she exclaimed, “Sure! Right this way!” and led me to the other side of the store. “We just got these in and they are so fabulous!”
She was holding up a pair of MC Hammer parachute pants.
You know. Because they are a combination of a ‘dress’ and ‘pants’. Dress pants.
I didn’t even correct her. She handed them to me and skipped away. I took it as a sign and bolted out of there. I found a Reitmans and bought two pairs of the same pair of dress pants. Actual dress pants.
Later in the week, I flew from Calgary to Winnipeg. I am very habitual when it comes to flying. I arrive at the airport way earlier than necessary. I’m usually through security and sitting in the terminal a solid two hours before the boarding time. I always pay to reserve a window seat because in any other seat, I’ll get motion sickness. Since I’m in a window seat, I always line up to be one of the first to board because I hate having to bug people to climb over them to get to my seat–partly because this inconveniences them, but mostly because it opens the door for conversation. I like to be sitting in my seat, buckled up, headphones in (even if they’re not plugged into anything), and staring out the window when my seat neighbour sits down. If this person is a cute guy my age, then I’ll do a sideways glance and say hello. Otherwise, you’re not talking to me.
I had an electronic boarding pass on my phone, which I showed to the attendant when I first checked in. On it, it very clearly said my plane would be leaving from Gate A09. As I left the check-in area to go to security, the attendant very emphatically said, “Your flight will be leaving from Gate A-nine (and I remembered this because I have a friend named Janine who I call J-nine, so it rhymed). Have a nice flight!”
So, after going through security (this work trip didn’t require me to bring my roll-up banner, AKA, my machine gun, as I once joked to a security guard in Come Fly with Me, so I got through pretty fast), I went promptly to Gate A09.
It was pretty empty since I was two hours early, so I found a nice comfy leather chair, swung it around to face the window, plopped myself down, rested my feet on the window ledge and read a good chunk of Hilarity Ensues by Tucker Max.
At 20 minutes prior to the boarding time, I went for a washroom run and to fill up my water bottle. Huh, this terminal isn’t as full as I thought it would be. I chalked it up to being an afternoon flight in the middle of the week, so maybe there weren’t many people on it. I sat back down and did a little more reading.
It was now boarding time. There were no pre-boarding announcements being made and no attendants at the gate. This doesn’t seem right... I went to the Air Canada information desk, which was conveniently located right next to my gate, showed the lady my electronic boarding pass and said, “Tell me I’m not crazy. I’m in the right place, right?”
She peered at the phone then typed something into the computer. In a voice typical to most women in the flight service industry, like Elaine in Airplane!, she said, “Your flight is leaving from Gate A-ELEVEN, and it’s just about finished boarding now.”
I looked at the phone. I looked at her. I jokingly shook my fist in the air and exclaimed, “You bunch of LIARS!!!” I thought she’d laugh, but her expression became defensive as if I was insulting her. As an Air Canada employee, I’m sure she’s had her share of complaints from passengers, so she clearly thought I was being serious. I’m just that amazing of an actor, I guess. Quickly, I said, “Oh no, I’m just joking! Thank you! Have a nice day!” and scurried away.
Obviously Gate A011 is right next to Gate A09, so it wasn’t a Home Alone running through the airport moment. The gates aren’t visible to each other because there’s a store located between them, so I wasn’t able to see the hoards of people waiting for the FULL flight. You would think I would have been able to hear the boarding announcements from one gate over, but they weren’t played over the speaker for the whole terminal to hear. Apparently, those announcements are reserved for the stern, “Will Joe (mispronounces last name) proceed to Gate A-one IMMEDIATELY? Your plane is fully boarded and full of angry, impatient people waiting JUST FOR YOU to board. Now, if you’re not too busy and important, get your ass to the gate!” messages.
I got to the gate as the LAST person to board the plane. How embarrassing. I had been sitting there for two hours and should have been the first person on (screw the elderly and children), and now I was that person who people shake their heads at as I stumbled on board. Of course, there was no room in the overhead bin above my seat for my carry-on, so I had to stow it a few rows back. As the flight attendant assisted me, I was loudly exclaiming things in a fluster like, “I’m sorry! It’s not my fault! I was here two hours early but my boarding pass said the wrong gate!” I was talking nice and loud for the whole plane to hear, so they wouldn’t think I was one of those monsters who take their sweet-ass time getting on board. I’m sure they were all thinking, “Thank God I’m not next to that raving lunatic.”
The man I was sitting next to rolled his eyes as he got up to let me in my window seat. I don’t blame him. I should have been seated before him. GAHHHHH!!!!
Stay tuned for Part Three, the final chapter. I promise you’ll be blown away!