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I think I would love to be able to quit my job and take off into the wild blue yonder.

The last time I flew away my trip went something like this…

Congested with a runny nose, my luggage x-rayed, I approached the ticket counter. The agent, with a French accent, asked if she could help. “I certainly hope so,” I smile. With nothing more then my last name she produced a series of boarding passes in seconds. She told me to enjoy my trip with a smile and then she rushed off to meet with carpenters scheduled to come do work on her house.

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I was happy when I looked at my boarding pass for the flight from Gander to St John’s and learned I was to be seated in seat 4A, a window seat. Cool, I thought, until I boarded the Beechcraft and discovered that every seat was a window seat. That was surprising enough, but when the flight attendant who welcomed us aboard and got us seated then introduced himself as our captain as well, I realized the cutbacks in airline services had been much more severe then I had thought. I doubted there would be a meal on this flight but we did have a reading light.

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That light did come in helpful in reading the laminated emergency features card. Well not so much actually read, because there were very few words on the sheet. It was more like look at the pictures. And attempt to decipher what it meant. It looked to me that Michael Jackson would be responsible for placing the oxygen masks on the kids if the need arose. Somehow that seems to only be asking for trouble.

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The emergency exit was actually the regular exit only used in emergency. There was one extra emergency hatch on the side of the plane opposite me occupied by a very elderly and frail lady. She looked at me with complete bewilderment after the flight attendant/captain tried to explain to her how she would have to open the hatch should events require it of her. I started looking for other escape routes. There was none.

I figured I better double check the card in case she needed my assistance. According to that plastic sheet there are three instances when the exit should not be used. There are no words to say exactly what they are, but from the drawings it looks like, one-if there is thick black smoke outside, stay in; two-if there is flame and fire burning outside, do not exit; and three-depending on if I decipher it correctly, do not use the emergency exit if bright orange maple leaves are falling from the sky. Somehow I think that picture may have another meaning but I am not going to worry about it because that little old lady across the aisle is not going to be able to get the door open anyway.

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The flight to St John’s at 13,000 feet was relatively calm, but the landing was not. Still we touched down alive. There I had a three hour wait so I settled in for long haul. To pass the time I would stand and watch other planes board and launch. When I turn around I laughed when I saw I had accidentally started a line. The people behind me were probably wondering why I was hesitating to board. For badness I considered talking to myself out loud, saying, “No way, I don’t care what you say, there is no way I am getting on THAT flight!” Then walk away. Instead, I behaved and stepped aside, and the plane continued to board.

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Danny Williams, the Premiere of Newfoundland & Labrador, was there and our paths crossed, again. (The first time was years earlier when he first decided to run for the leadership of the Conservative party and he darted out in front of my car on Duckworth Street. There, history could have been altered forever, if I had only hit the gas instead of the brakes.) I said to him, “Hi, you look like someone I seen on TV.” He punched my arm. (Maybe he recognized me from Duckworth St. and was getting me back for momentarily considering the gas pedal.)

The Premier’s  flight was the last to leave for a while so I found a seat outside the security checkpoint area and watched, where, due to increased security alerts in the USA, guards with blue rubber gloves were busy spot checking and making people remove their shoes. I noticed one lady take a seat and she started talking to her luggage. You think I looked befuddled then, you should have seen my expression when the luggage started meowing back.

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10 hours later I was in Vancouver, unfortunately, my luggage was on a trip of it’s own.

Now that I think about it maybe I wouldn’t want a trip into the wild blue yonder right now, maybe a nap would be better.

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