Years ago, I heard someone mention that unlike most people who wondered WHEN they are going to die, he would prefer to know WHERE he was going to die. That way, he could simply avoid going to that place until he was ready.
I have since repeated this story many times, and for whatever reason, I almost always use Toronto in my example. Maybe it is because as a life-long Montrealer, the natural inter-city rivalry seemed like a good fit.
I recently had reason (and time) to think about this old story as I got to spend more time than planned waiting at the airport in Montreal for a Toronto-bound flight.
I was scheduled to fly into Toronto on airline that I prefer not to name, but let’s just say their name rhymes with “quarter”.
I needed to be at a course on Monday at 8:30 AM, and not wanting to kill my whole weekend with the family, I booked a seat on their Sunday 8:10 PM flight, conveniently into Billy Bishop airport, very close to my downtown hotel.
I arrived at the airport and immediately noticed more people than usual, and many of them were complaining. I soon learned that the airline’s computer had suffered a system shutdowm due to glitch earlier in the day, and they were trying in vain to play catch up.
It was 7:00 PM and they told me my flight would leave at 10:35. Oh well, I will get to bed late but by midnight I should be at my hotel, no big deal.
I could go on about how the departure time kept getting pushed back, but we have all been there. After it got moved to midnight, a plane arrived at our gate at 11:45, and I thought, “Oh cool, it’s here, we’re gonna leave soon”. HA HA HA. This plane is staying here overnight. Our plane just left Halifax.
At this point I started thinking that maybe someone was trying to tell me that I should NOT go to Toronto.
We finally boarded around 1:00, but after we got on the plane, they told us that it was too late to land at Billy Bishop. OK, we all think, we will be going to Pearson, further from downtown, but at this hour, there won’t be any traffic, so it is not that big a deal.
But NO, that would make too much sense. After we boarded, we learned that we would be going to a nearby city, let’s call it Shlamilton. Big groan from everyone.
Okay, not true. There was one happy guy, who happened to live there. But wait, Holy Crap, what if it is really Shlamilton I need to avoid? I can’t even get off this plane now! This could be the end.
No time to think about that, a crying baby takes my mind off it. A few minutes later he stops, but is quickly followed by crying baby number two.
We landed in Shlamilton at 2:30 and boarded a bus (except for the one lucky guy who took a cab home). The bus got us to Billy Bishop just before 4:00 AM.
There were 4 taxis waiting, and over 30 people on the bus. Some more fun awaited…
It was a long travel day, but I made it, finally getting to sleep around 4:30. Maybe I don’t have to avoid Shlamilton? Maybe I should avoid “quarter”? Or maybe I need to make sure my will is up to date.