Friday, November 04, 2005

Edmonton...Part 2

Flying is no fun anymore. Was it ever?

The Air Canada people are pleasant enough. But now you have to pay for everything…even the utterly inadequate pieces of navel lint they’ve been passing off as pillows for years. And it’s not as if Air Canada was WestJet, offering cheap fares in return for cheap service. We, the band, are apparently forced to use Air Canada because it is the only airline left that allows us to get our equipment on board without the hassle of having to send it by cargo plane (ie a whole separate trip), but I fear this will change in the near future too.

The Buddhist smoker is obliged to practise infinite patience. One of the six perfections.

I will say one thing. Security and all that blather was less blathersome this time around. Everyone is getting used to the new normal. In other words, no one is questioning the insanity of it all.

The new terminal at Hawgtown Internutsified Hairport is like something out of Arthur C. Clarke. I don’t think I need to say anymore. When I walk around there I feel like an alien just in from Alpah Centauri.

But I have an example of how complex things sometimes fall out of synch. Park’N Fly. In the new terminal they have these little phone kiosks that are supposed to connect you with various services…transport, hotel, what-not. Parkiefly is one of these. When you arrive at arrivals you go out to the kiosk, press the appropriate smudge on the screen and plug in to Parkersfly. The idea is to let them know you’re home and want your car back, assuming it hasn’t been trashed by unscrupulous employees and their shady associates. (An event which occurred to us several years ago.) To do this, you have to punch in a code number which you received when you abandoned your vehicle to the vicissitudes of Spark’N Pry. Unfortunately, the spiffy kiosks with the touchscreens and 21st century telephone receivers have no number pad. So you have to hang up from the kiosk and go find the pay phone and use the 1-800 number. Then wait for the bus. Then…then…then…about an hour after arriving in Hawgtown, I was finally on my way back to the arrivals level to pick up the equipment being guarded by my brother.

Finally, speaking of kiosks. At the Edmonton Wilderness Trek Airport, they’ve apparently instituted new procedures guaranteed to extend your stay. Now you have to go and arrange your tickets at the ticket kiosk. OK, fine. That’s assuming there’s someone there to tell you that this is what you have to do, which in this case there was, although she wasn’t all that clear about it. But after you’ve done that, you still have to go to the check-in counter. Why, I don’t know. And then! Sometimes you’re not in the system (like 4 members of our party of 9). In this circumstance, you have to go to a different check-in counter, labelled Triangle. Why it’s called Triangle I don’t know, except that it means you’ve been triangulated out of your seat by technological overlap.

Meanwhile, the line of unfortunates waiting to submit themselves to the indignities of aluminum tube travel stretches approximately half the length of the terminal. Have you noticed that our culture of queueing is really beginning to resemble postwar Europe? Again...bodhisattva patience required and an uncanny ability to not notice these things, or at least disregard them, not to mention accepting them as inevitable consequences of this degenerate age.

Travellers! ID this. ID that. IDeedyDooDoo.


Larry Keiler said...

OK, all you smartypants. Did I spell "queueing" correctly?

And if so, I wonder how many "English" words there are with five vowels in a row? Two of which are "u"s.

Anonymous said...

okay, I'm just about to go downstairs to watch Desperate Housewives followed by Gray's Anatomy. Sunday night is one of my few TV nights (well Amazing Race on Tuesdays & Medium on Monday, but that is IT, really!). I'm taking a very expensive little bin of Haagen-Dazs frozen yogourt with me - carmel and taffee. The French on the tub says "dulce de leche". By English standards that doesn't sound inviting. Ok, I'm going off on a tangent. I wanted to say I have thought the same about recent lineups, especially at Tim Hortons, and how we've now been conditioned to wait in ways we would never have waited in the past, being spoiled little children of the democratic world - I remember the long lineups in Russia when I went there as a teenager in the mid seventies.... we were appalled and smug about the lineups we saw for everything from bread to books - and now we're waiting ourselves!

Help! I've written and I can't get up!