Scenes From A Canadian Airport

Sorry for the play on a Billy Joel title but I’ve been listening to his greatest hits recently.

As you know, I traveled up north of the border last week…and no I don’t mean north of the Mason-Dixon Line…to Canada. It was my  first visit in more than 18 years. I flew into Kitchener in 1998 for an overnight stay with my previous company but only left the hotel for the vendor’s office then flew back out the next afternoon. At that time we were in the company jet and flew into a local regional airport. Toronto Pearson International Airport was very much a different story.

My arrival flight was rather uneventful. As I was solely focused on clearing customs then navigating my way to the rental car counter I didn’t get to much in the way of people watching. I will say this, the Canadian Customs and Immigration process is very streamlined and efficient. Now, I landed on a regional jet mid afternoon so I there wasn’t a great hoard of international folks trying to clear. Even so, I was through and off to Avis in less than 15 minutes. Kudos!

My return trip back home through Pearson; however, was a complete cornucopia of people watching gold!

 I didn’t sleep well the night before due to a group of millenials partying at the outside gazebo at the hotel, it was warm for Toronto Thursday night. Couple that with a dizzying array of meetings and calls at the office before heading to the airport rendered my senses a bit dull. So needless to say I wasn’t at my sharpest heading back. After driving to the wrong terminal car return I had to navigate my way to the right terminal. For all of my praise in the previous paragraph on inbound customs, I had an extremely difficult time following the logic and layout of the signs to get between terminals. Confusing at best. 

Once I got to the right terminal I relaxed a bit and became fully aware of the kaleidoscope of people traveling through and working at the airport. It was both funny and infuriating!

I have seen a few people here in the states with the multi-colored hair. I think it is referred to as “unicorn” hair??? Again, it is not very prevalent around my neck of the woods. At Toronto Pearson…it would seem…this hair-color was everywhere. Men, women, kids, and even a few old folks sported this coloring. Various hues of purple, pink, yellow, red, and green were everywhere all with the same basic cut: short on one side long on the other then swooped/swirled/or otherwise roughly strewn about the heads of the person sporting the cut. It was curious! 

The airport is undergoing a great deal of renovations. Thus, snaking through the warrens of hallways and “construction@ tunnels made what is normally a long walk (clearing customs) an extra long walk. Once I cleared the labyrinth the people watching began in earnest!

Approaching the first gate in the terminal proper I began scanning the concourse for interesting stuff and noticed a 20-something guy crotch watching…primarily on guys. So, being the curious type I glanced down at his crotch. He was wearing very tight sweats sporting a very clear and defined outline of a multi bar chastity device of some design. In addition he had a small lock securing a metal chain around his neck. I looked up to see him staring at me so I smiled. I reached up and made sure my own little lock pendant could be seen and nodded. He smiled back what I will describe as a knowing grin. I truly believe this was the first time I have clearly seen another man’s chastity cage; albeit, through very tight clothing. I would venture to say he was told to go commando with those tight sweats to show off. Just a guess on my part. Pretty cool!

After grabbing some lunch I headed to my gate to get some work done before my flight. The gate area, especially in a flight delay scenario, becomes like the bar scene from Star Wars. 

When I first got to the gate, a little dugout area for the regional jet commuters, I was one of probably 10 people. The guy that showed up next nearly forced me into being violent. Older and probably half deaf, he sat down two seats from me. First, there were probably 75 empty seats. Several completely empty rows of seats were available! 

I was trying to work so I ignored him at first. The normal low buzz of a gate area was viciously shattered when his cell phone rang. Holy hell! He had the volume maxed out and when he opened his mouth I learned why. His voice was rough and LOUD. Even a clearing of my throat followed almost instantly by a dagger stare by me didn’t phase him one bit. Compounding the issue, he apparently had a poor connection so he yelled even louder. Hearing how the hardest part of his trip was getting an Uber out to their remote site a half dozen times and ever increasing decibels finally sent me over the edge of civil discourse.

I turned to him in a gruff, who am I kidding, pissed off voice, “Please take your conversation somewhere else.” He sort of sneered but got up to leave. When he came back several minutes later to inform me how rude I was it again didn’t sit well. I tersely informed the world didn’t want to hear his damn conversations and he should think about a Bluetooth device or realize he is in a crowded room and take his conversations elsewhere. We agreed to disagree. Thankfully his flight boarded and left before the all stol was placed on the airfield for weather.

While waiting, I saw the ultimate “selfie queen” in action. If she took one selfie she took 100. 

Snap, look at picture, change hair.

Snap, look at picture, change facial expression.

Snap, look at picture, tilt head a different angle.

This went on for half an hour. She was oblivious or just didn’t care that people were laughing at her openly. I guess she was making her own Glamour Shots portraits (comment if you know that reference)! 

Finally, the ultimate in “I am the only person that matters and I will get what I want” prima dona showed her ass so bad she nearly got arrested. 

The whole airfield was shut down due to rain and fog. Having great travel apps I was informed as soon as my flight was delayed by 2 hours. I already noticed a direct flight back home at the next kiosk. Initially I didn’t try to get on that flight; however, once my connecting flight was rebooked and scheduled to leave after the direct flight I went for the change and got it! Just as my new direct flight was about to open up for boarding…SHE showed up. 

The young lady at my kiosk was the only available airline employee so Sarasota (since that was her destination) walked up and loudly declared “I am not leaving this spot until you take care of my issue.” The gate agent informed Sarasota she was opening my flight and couldn’t help her but Sarasota again said she was not moving. As with everyone, flights were delayed and connections were at risk. Sarasota didn’t care. She demanded the airline get her to her destination tonight. As it stood, Sarasota had three options: 1-stay in Toronto overnight at her own expense due to the delay being weather related; 2 – take her original flight to DC in the off chance she makes her connectio…if not stay there overnight, or 3 – connect through Charlotte to Ft Meyers and drive the hour back to Sarasota. 

She kept saying “not an option” every time these were laid out for her. She then demanded a refund. When Alberto, the supervisor who came over to assist the young lady trying to help Sarasota, asked her who she bought her ticket from she became even more incensed when he told her to call them. You see she bought her ticket from Expedia and Alberto said she would have to calm them. This is when she became obscenely loud and obnoxious. Seconds later uniformed police were standing behind her.

Sarasota thought about going to jail for a few minutes by continuing to argue with the police but finally made a good decision and stepped away from the podium and called someone, probably Expedia.

The inbound flight making up my direct flight home  was delayed so I, along with everyone else who had witnessed Sarasota’s buffoonery, got the distinct pleasure of watching Sarasota eat crow. 

Sarasota marched back up to the young lady at our kiosk with a handwritten note. Moments later, the airline employee handed her new boarding passes: “So your new flight is tomorrow morning at 9:45 at this gate. Here are your boarding passes. Have a great evening.”

Is it wrong that several of us standing around the kiosk laughed audibly and clapped? Well we did. One lady even commented to Sarasota as she walked by: “I guess staying here overnight was an option after all.” Sarasota never looked up just kept on walking. Karma is grand.

As we boarded, I congratulated the young gate agent on her professionalism on dealing with Sarasota. That made her day! 

Thus ended my people watching at a Canadian airport. This week…off to Buckeye land for a week of vendor demonstrations. Fun!!!

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