Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Monday, 22 September 2014

Our lives will never be the same, Part Two

So folks, today is the day.

Friday’s brilliant segment of the Vipassana Diaries was hijacked by my Twitter feed. I did a search for “Air France” to see how the strike was going. There wasn’t much there. One out of two flights were being cancelled. Pilots were threatening to extend the strike if unions couldn’t come to a resolution. Some travellers had pissed off things to say, although not as many as you might imagine.

Then I came across a Vanity Fair article called, “Should airplanes be flying themselves?” It was about Air France so I thought I’d take a look. And guess what? An Air France flight from Rio de Janiero to Paris crashed in 2009. I only let myself skim over it, but this was enough to make me reverberate and tremble. If my flight on Monday ran, which was only 50% likely, then well, imminent death for me.

Reverberate, reverberate.

I was sitting at Just Us Coffee. Everyone else was sipping their lattes, happy and chatty. My gluten free espresso chocolate chip cookie was all gone. Soon I would be too.

Reverberate, reverberate.

I called the Boatman. He didn’t answer his phone.  Probably he was doing something important at work.

Then I went outside and happened to run into a friend who was happy and surprised to see me since I was supposed to be in India. I walked her to work. And I calmed down.

The other night I was going on and on about the people with spinal cord injuries that I had seen at the bus station and/or seen on the Internet.

I was close to tears worrying about spinal cord injuries and what the man at the bus station and the man on the Internet were doing at this very moment.

“What if they’re all alone and they can’t move?”

“Babe, you’re freaking me out,” said the Boatman.

“I can’t stop thinking about this,” I said. “What should I do?”

“Well,” said the Boatman, “You’re a bit neurotic. You sound like Woody Allen.”

“What does neurotic mean anyways?” I told the Boatman that he should look it up in the dictionary.

This is what says


1.       Also called psychoneurosis, a functional disorder in which feelings of anxiety, obsessional thoughts, compulsive acts, and physical complaints without objective patterns of disease in various degrees and patterns dominate the personality.

2.       A relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment
The Boatman laughed and became extremely satisfied. Because it was so me.

Well, the Boatman’s neurotic darling is finally heading to India today!

Me and the Boatman on the Happy Stairs
Air France’s strike ended up being extended.

I tried really hard to stay really calm.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early and did 108 sun salutations for the Fall Equinox, which is sometime around now. Then I got on the phone with Air France.

They had a marvellous alternate itinerary that stopped in New York, Atlanta, and then Dubai before going to India. The customer representative said I’d be in the air for 21 hours. My father generously purchased me some magical circulation socks. Still, 21 hours sounded a bit hideous.
So I called the online travel agency to see if I could refund my ticket and get something better.

Not so much.  That last minute, the prices were pretty mediocre considering the amount of time I had to spend in Sri Lanka. Plus he was had to confirm details about the refund with Air France and he was on hold with them for over 45 minutes. Probably an hour and fifteen minutes in with him was when the first tears came.

I decided to try again with Air France. Maybe Dubai wouldn’t be so bad. Once my brother-in-law did a concert for a royal family in Dubai, and they gave him a really nice watch.

After centuries on hold, I asked if they could plug me in for the Dubai itinerary. The nice lady on the phone tried to, only the flight from Dubai to India wasn’t going through.

“I can’t get stuck in Dubai. My mother will lose it.”

She talked to her supervisor who suggested that maybe I take an Air Canada flight to Paris on Wednesday.

“And then what?”

“Well, maybe a flight will run to India. Half of our flights are running.”

No, no. This sounded like not a good plan. All of my flights so far had been cancelled. Now, more tears.

“I’m sorry, I just find this very stressful.”

The customer representative was very understanding. She said that it had been very stressful for many people. Maybe I wasn’t the first to cry on the phone.

I googled British airways and found a flight leaving Monday. I read it out to her.

I reverberated for approximately one more hour and forty-five minutes and then it was a done deal.

The Boatman was proud of me, generously praising me for my independence and for being a lot less hysterical than usual.

We are leaving for the airport soon.

Our lives will never be the same.

The End.

At Vipassana, the best part of every evening discourse was when the camera zoomed out and you could see Goenka’s wife, usually sitting in a chair. Behind her huge glasses, her eyes were always closed.
When the discourse was almost over, Goenka would do some of his melodic chanting. It was nice to see the chant come out of someone’s mouth. After the chant, Goenka would say, “take rest for about five minutes, then start again.”

The screen would switch to blue and huge ghetto letters read,
“May all beings be happy.”

I wish I had a similar screen for you. Instead I have this face. That fanny pack.
Okay, the Boatman is coming soon.


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