photoI didn’t have a date to write about this week, so I thought I’d share a slice of my life with you (in romantic comedy form of course).  These are true and accurate events that occurred yesterday on my way back to the states from Canada. Now, because I’m writing this as if I were living a true life Rom Com, I need a female sidekick. In this case, I’d like to introduce you to Lady Bug.  She is my travel companion (AKA carry-on) and has been on many adventures with me throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and Australia.  Luckily for me, she doesn’t talk or this would turn into one of those potty-mouthed comedies.

We meet our heroine (that’s me) as I enter the Winnipeg airport.  I seem like an attractive highly, intelligent, woman, as I easily and effortlessly put my passport on the machine to print out my boarding passes.  Upon receiving them, I identify which is the one I need for the first leg of my journey and proceed to gate 14E which is printed clearly enough for me to read without my glasses at 4am.

The airport is bigger than I expected, and in addition to rolling Lady Bug around (for the guys reading this, just insert R2D2 every time I say Lady Bug.  She is the red version of him and you’ll feel more manly if you relate this to Star Wars), I was carrying what felt like a 25 pound bag on my shoulder.

Being directionally impaired, I pay extra attention to signs in airports before making any course of action decisions, so when I saw the arrow pointing right for Gates 1-7 and the arrow pointing left for Gates 8-20, I was 100% sure that gate 14 was to the left.  So Lady Bug (red R2D2) and I (and the now 35 pound bag on my shoulder) headed left, passed 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13… 15, 16 , 17…. hmm. I looked around. I saw up to 20 ahead of me, but no 14.  This wasn’t an elevator where they leave off the 13th floor for superstitious people.  Where was Gate 14? I walked back to 8 and started over, Lady Bug happily rolling along while shoulder bag somehow expanded to now weighing 40 pounds.

I stopped at the intersection of 13 and 15.  Where the heck was 14?  At that point, I let go of Lady Bug, but instead of standing on her own two wheels like most carry-ons, she is shaped like the letter D, so she toppled forward.  As my sidekick, I realized she was helping me out because she fell right in the direction of a cute guy in uniform who worked there.  I walked up confidently (despite the static electricity in my hair from the cold weather that made me look like an 8th grade science experiment) and said, “Excuse me, am I crazy or is there no Gate 14 here?”  He looked around and agreed there was in fact no Gate 14, which he too thought was odd.  So I showed him my boarding pass and pointed to 14E, to which he responded, “That’s your seat number, you want to go to Gate 6 which is the opposite side of the terminal.”  Rather than admit I was at that age where you instantly need glasses, I exclaimed, “That’s what happens when you wake me up at 4am.” He gave me an empathetic smile, at least that’s what I tell myself… if I’m being totally honest I’m pretty sure he thought I was an idiot.

Next we cut to the typical Rom Com “Cute Meet” where our leading lady meets her handsome leading man in some cute way… well, at least that’s what’s supposed to happen…

I have this physical anchor that I do on planes.  As soon as I’m in my seat, I overlap my hands in my lap, press my thumbs together, close my eyes, and I’m asleep before take off.  I don’t even push the seat back and the next thing I hear is the pilot telling us to prepare for landing.  Only, on this trip the next thing I heard was, “Ma’am… Ma’am….. MA’ME!”  It was a man’s voice, but what was so irritating was not that he was waking me up, but… when did I go from Miss to Ma’am?  Seriously, when did that happen?  He didn’t have a Southern accent, so it wasn’t an upbringing thing… nope, it’s happened. I’m officially a Ma’am.

As I started to open my eyes, and move around, he said, “I am SO sorry, I photo 2spilled my coffee on you.”

Now at this point, as the heroine, I’m supposed to turn and look into the sexy eyes of Bradley Cooper and forget all about the coffee stains on my $190 camel sweater that have soaked through to my white pants (my fault for wearing white after Labor Day).  But instead, I looked into the red face of a bumbling Kevin James, who can’t stop apologizing and is handing me mounds of Starbucks napkins.  I did the best I could with the sweater and knew there was no helping the pants.  Lady Bug was stowed in the overhead compartment so she couldn’t offer me a change of pants.  In the end, he was so flummoxed, that I felt more sorry for him than my clothes so I went back to sleep.  Once we landed he apologized more, which would have meant something had he offered to pay for my dry cleaning, but he didn’t. I would have said it wasn’t necessary, but he should have offered.

As we enter Act 2, I am alone in the Edmonton airport, once again trying to follow the correct signs, when I am told I have to go through security again because American customs is actually here in Canada.  Alright, I’m a pro at security. I dress for it.. know the drill.  Lady Bug goes first, then my sweaters and shoes and empty water bottle in one tray, then my laptop in a second tray, the my now 25 pound bag (I had a rest on the 1st flight) in a third tray.  I show my boarding pass to the security guard and I have nothing in my pockets or any metal on me or in me.  But then the French security guard asked me a question I’d never heard before, “Do you carry coffeemogetermose?” Huh? He repeated and pointed to my bag, “Any cowfeemoge or termouse?”

“I’m sorry I said,” I don’t understand what you’re asking me.  He gestured a mug with a lid, “Cowfee mug or turmose?”  All of a sudden I remembered the gift that I’d been given from Film Training Manitoba.  It was a ceramic coffee mug with a rubber lid.  “Oh,” I said, “A coffee mug or thermos?”

“That’s what I said!” he demanded as his seasoned security expertise must have registered the look of realization on my face that I indeed had packed one.  I reached for my bag to take it out, when I remembered to protect the ceramic, I killed two birds with one stone… I stuffed it with my dirty underwear and wrapped it in a plastic 1I mean why use the bubble wrap it came in when you can protect it with dirty underwear?  This realization had me freeze up. I couldn’t pull out a mug with dirty underwear stuffed in it, so I asked, “Why do you need to see a mug or thermos?” He answered (and might I add he looked like Borat which was making it even harder for me to keep a straight face between his accent and my dirty little secret) “Because we have to test it.”  It was then that I remembered that because my dirty underwear was in it, I had packed it in Lady Bug who was now going through the screener, so I quickly moved from tray 3 with my bag to tray 1 with my water bottle and said, “Here it is!” offering him my empty refillable water bottle.  He was now getting angry and I was holding up the line.  “But this is not a cowfeemoge or termouse! It is a bottle.”

“I know I said, but sometimes I refill it with coffee.”  This did not please him. “You are testing my English!” I went back to my original excuse for the day, “I’m sorry, I’ve been up since 4am, I’m testing my own English.” And then I was waved through and prayed that the guy looking through the X-ray would not notice my coffeemouge in Lady Bug and make me pull it out to be tested, because the thought of having to pull it out with the underwear and the angry Borat, was just not ideal.

Luckily we made it through, but the final act is like a typical Rom Com… me running through an airport terminal as if to stop the man I love from leaving me and making the biggest mistake of our lives.  But let me step back to where it all began.

After going through security I found myself on a long line to get through customs which didn’t seem so bad at first, although I didn’t understand why the hold up was here and not once I actually entered the states… but after about 45 minutes, I woke up enough to ask someone what time it was.  “8:20,” she said.  I looked at my boarding pass (this time in the correct place) and it read ‘boarding time 8:25!’  Ummm okay.  A little panic.  Lady Bug fell over which didn’t help the situation and now my shoulder bag weighed 50 pounds so I put it down.  The people in line around me started to rally (though none of them offered to let me cut them in line).  I announced, “I still have a half hour until they take off but I’m going to be that girl running for the gate.  Are they far from here?”  The Canadian gentleman in front of me said, “No, they’re just around the way.  We’ll all cheer you on as you run.”

Twenty minutes later I was through customs.  Now before I tell you about my mad dash, let me preface it by explaining that I was leaving 6 degree celsius weather, so I was wearing UGG boots and under my white coffee stained pants, I was wearing (now) coffee stained thermal underwear, and under my sweater I was wearing thermal underwear, under which I was wearing a tank top, and because the plane can be cold I had my thick, blue turtleneck sweater tied around my waist.  And guess what?  The guy lied!  The gates were not around the corner.  In fact I was running passed people on the people mover which is that escalator on the floor and running on the floor and then running on the next people mover because the gates are so darn far, and then running more, sweating my butt off (so much for my reputation of not sweating…see my last post.  Mitch is right I DO need a deodorant sponsor for this blog) running and running Lady Bug twirling around because of her odd shape making me drag her until she found her wheels again.  Finally at 9am I arrived at gate 80 panting and sweating, trying to catch my breath, only to hear the announcement that my flight had not been delayed but boarding had, so it would be a few more minutes.

Oh, thank heavens!  I immediately put Lady Bug against a chair, my 70 pound shoulder bag on top of Lady Bug, and began stripping!  There was nothing I could do about the thermals under my pants, but everything else was coming off down to my tank top.  As everyone watched, bewildered, I heard a clapping behind me.  It was the Canadian gentleman from the customs line.  “I see ya made it, eh?” he smiled.  Did I mention he was cute? “I did indeed,” I smiled back.  And had he been on his way to Los Angeles perhaps this story would have had a happy ending, but instead I was just happy enough to find myself in 16F relieved to discover I had the whole row to myself, so I could lie down without fear of having cranberry, tomato, or grape juice spilled on me.

Now… time to find myself my next date…


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  1. Mira Dessy says:

    Airport adventures! I know them well. 🙂

  2. Heidi Alexandra says:

    Snorting with laughter – I love the reality that travel isn’t always a sexy experience as depicted in the movies – gosh how mortifying if you had to get your dirty underwear out and in your drinking vessel – imagine their faces!

  3. Travel is an adventure! I love your spirit! 🙂


    Katherine C. H. E.
    Author, Be True Rich

  4. Sue Painter says:

    Your adventures……I don’t know. Maybe you should have stuck around and dated the guy who wanted to see your dirty undies, LOL!

  5. AdventureBizBabe says:

    Seriously? All that and you didn’t even get a date? I believe that the fickle finger of fate owes you one!

  6. G says:

    Hmm, r.e. the sprinting – isn’t this just like hot yoga ???

  7. Ray says:

    First off, I love that you wear glasses.
    “Ma’am” has such a bad connotation these days and I get criticized for using it much more often than I should. It’s a term of respect, real men respect women, so real men say “Ma’am.” And I’ve lost a lot of my Southern accent having lived and worked in NYC so damn long. It’s not ageist, I say it to the 20-something counter girl. But then again for me it’s pretty automatic. Though you still need to earn it.
    You really shouldn’t be embarassed about dirty underwear in the coffee mug, the guy would have been more embarrassed. It’s just good travel packing.
    Great try with the water bottle diversion. First class!

  8. Oh my goodness! I love your sense of humor. I’m sure I would have been an angry beast by the end of the day. Glad you got a row to yourself–you definitely earned it.

  9. Too funny. Yup, we’ve all had travel “adventures” if we’ve traveled enough.

  10. Lisa Manyon says:

    Oh Jessica,
    What an adventure. I remember when they confiscated my emergency corkscrew (as if it were a weapon instead of a life-saving device to help me consume entrepreneurial fuel). 😉
    Write on!~

  11. Mitch Tublin says:

    Oh so many loose ends to clean up!
    Did you actually drink from your dirty undie Thermous when you arrived home?
    And where are the photos of the ‘strip down to my tank top’ event?
    Exactly why were you wearing white pants when traveling – forget the ‘Labor Day Rule’ breaking?
    Do obtain a sponsorship from a deodorant company!

  12. I’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling and know airport adventures too!


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