A Delicious Flight
After waking up, cleaning up, and eating, I was more or less ready to go. Blake was stopping by around 11:30AM with the airport taxi, and I had about an hour to myself. I decided that now would be a wonderful opportunity to purchase some flying snacks from the nearby convenience store.
Moments later, I was browsing the shelves. I grabbed some granola bars, and some raisins. On my way out, I saw some flatbread, and was immediately reminded of the time that my friend Doug offered me some flatbread with roasted red pepper hummus on it. And I remembered that it was delicious. Immediately, I was hit by a craving, grabbed the flatbread, and went to go find the hummus.
Eventually, I zeroed in on the hummus section. Unfortunately, the tub of roasted red pepper hummus that I found was about the right size for a whole family, and I thought that’d be a bit of a waste (since I wasn’t sure I’d be able to refridgerate it upon landing). So I dug around in the shelves until I found a smaller tub, grabbed it, paid, and left.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Mike – this minutia is really of no interest to me. Am I really going to have to hear about the food you bought and ate? Is this how these posts are going to go?”. Just rest assured, I’m bringing this up for a reason. The hummus comes into play later.
Blake arrived, I hopped into the car, and we were off. We compared snacks: Blake was packing some awesome-looking homemade banana bread with chocolate chips.
It was going to be a delicious flight.
A Newbie Goes Through Security
It’d been a little while since I’d been through airport security, and I had forgotten some of the moves. I did my best to follow Blake’s example – I pulled out my laptop to be screened independently. I tossed down my jacket. I lined it all up all neat and tidy for the little luggage car-wash to scan it.
Soon, it was my turn to walk through the metal detector. In front of me, Blake had sailed through and was already getting his stuff off of the conveyer belt.
I walked through the gate. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.
“Sir, do you have anything in your pockets?”
Oh yeah. I had everything in my pockets. Wallet, keys, cell-phone, belt, watch, I’d forgotten all of it. So there I am, scrambling to void my pockets of their contents, and tossing them into a little bowl to be scanned.
Security was not impressed.
After an extremely thorough wand-scanning, I was eventually let through. I gathered my stuff up, and hurried over to Blake.
The Storage Seat
We reached our terminal without incident. We had an hour to kill before boarding, and chatted about the upcoming meeting, science fiction, Ricky Gervais, video games. Boarding was a piece of cake.
Although we had booked our tickets seperately, somehow, our seats were in the same row. There was a lone seat in between us. The plane filled up…and filled up…and the seat remained empty. Suddenly it dawned on me: Blake and I were probably about to get a free storage seat between us. Awesome-sauce.
I became so excited about the middle seat that I was starting to sweat everytime someone else came onto the plane. One or two stragglers would saunter on, and I was sure the jig was up. But somehow, someway, it didn’t happen. The storage seat was saved. It immediately became home to a host of overflow items.
It was at this point that the captain came on the horn to tell us that there was a problem. During the safety check, he found out his oxygen mask wasn’t working. Maintenance would be sending a part over, and it’d take somewhere around 30 minutes to get it all sorted.
30 minutes later, we were underway, and hurtling down the tarmac. Eventually, the seatbelt sign was turned off. I reached for my book. It was going to be a long flight (approx 6 hours).
That’s when the flight attendant announced that the water wasn’t running in the front bathroom. So we were down to one bathroom. The girl across the aisle from me groaned audibly.
Moments later, we found out that our in-flight movies were not working. The same girl groaned even louder, whipped out her cellphone, and began texting furiously. I was reminded of this Louis C.K. bit on Conan…
It was an uneventful flight. Blake and I chatted a bit, and then I read, and he listened to music. There was a Mythbusters marathon on the on-board television, so that was entertaining. I learned today that if a diver in one of those old-school scuba suits is down 300 feet, and suddenly has his air supply cut off…the waterpressure is strong enough to compress all of his organs into his helmet like a human meatball. Gross. Thanks Mythbusters.
Landing, and the Hummus Incident
Landing was no biggie. The captain came on the horn again to tell us that they had to cut power the plane in order to get the bridge attached to us. As the lights went out, I could see the light of a cellphone illuminate the face of the girl across the aisle. Texting commenced at a furious pace. I don’t think she was very happy with the flight.
Next, Blake and I meandered our way to U.S. security and customs. Along the way, we helped a mother and daughter find their New Zealand flight. While in the line-up, I realized that I was still carrying a bottle of water that I’d purchased in the Toronto airport. And it was still more or less full.
To avoid embarrassment, I chugged it back. The whole half-litre. Dazed from over-hydration, I tossed all of my gear, pockets and all, upon the security conveyor belt like a boss. I was determined to do this like a pro, and gave Blake the “I know what I’m doing this time” eyebrows.
Shoeless, beltless, pockets emptied, I passed through the metal detector like a marathon runner at the end of a race. Not a sound from the machine. It was glorious.
“Step over this way, sir”.
I was suddenly redirected to security, and told to empty my backpack.
As the security guard rummaged, my hummus fell out, and wobbled onto the table.
Suddenly, all eyes went to the hummus.
“Sir, what is this?”
“No, it’s not.” I looked closer. Damn it, I’d been duped by similar packaging. It was full-blown dip, not hummus. So much for healthy snacking.
“Oh, sorry, it’s dip. Not hummus. Dip.”
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to stay right here.”
I had started to sweat a little. Meanwhile, Blake was getting his shoes on, and was eyeing me curiously.
“It’s the hummus,” I said. He mouthed “Oh”.
3 or 4 minutes later, I was shuttled over to an official looking desk, where an official looking guard was presiding over my very fraudulant hummus.
“I thought it was hummus. You can keep the dip. I don’t want to the dip. You can have the dip.” I kept saying. I was worried that they thought I’d lied to them while calling it hummus. Or was there some sort of dip embargo? What the hell was going on?
“I don’t want the dip,” the tired looking employee said to me. He had a thousand-yard stare going on. This guy was not a fan of his job – at least not today.
“Your boarding pass says that you came in from Toronto. They should have stopped it at security over there”. He jabbed a finger at the dip. “This is over 50 millilitres of liquid. They shouldn’t have let it through.”
I made a weak attempt at humor by mentioning that the dip wasn’t exactly a liquid, and was more like handcream. He didn’t seem amused. I cut the crap and shut my mouth.
He then spent 5 minutes collecting all of my personal identification, and taking photos of me with the security camera. He assured me that I wasn’t in trouble, and that, in fact, Toronto airport security was in trouble. I remarked that I hoped nobody was going to lose their job over this. He grunted, handed me my boarding pass, and wished me a good day.
Dip-less, I walked back to Blake, gathered up all of my stuff, and we started walking towards our departure gate.
A Chance Encounter
We had stopped by a Tim Hortons to grab some food, when Blake nudged me.
“Come this way,” he said. I followed him back to the Tim Hortons line-up
“Mike Conley, meet David Ascher. David Ascher, meet Mike Conley.”
So it turned out that David Ascher, CEO of Mozilla Messaging, and my new boss, was taking the same flight with his wife. We said hello, and chatted a bit, and then headed towards our gate.
We boarded without incident. Blake and I weren’t sitting together on this flight – I was sitting next to some charming older ladies who were slamming back the in-flight alcohol like it was going out of style.
It was a hard leg of the flight. After approximately forever, we landed. This was at about 10PM Hawaii time, or 3AM Toronto time. At this point, I’d been awake for about 19 hours. I was exhausted, groggy, and probably dehydrated.
A section of the airport terminal had no windows. It was warm out, but not uncomfortably so. It was a bit humid. I saw palm trees in the shadows.
Eventually, David, his wife, Blake and myself were able to hail a cab. We whisked through the Hawaiian night. I remember thinking that the outside part Hawaii we were driving through seemed like an interesting mix of industrial and tourist. Kind of like if Niagara Falls and Hamilton were smashed together.
Finally, we pulled up to our hotel. After checking in, my body had pretty much given up.
It’s funny how 19 hours of just sitting still in a chair will exhaust you.
Before reaching the elevators, we ran into a few more members of the team who’d arrived before us. There were quick introductions (too quick – I’d have to ask for names again later on), and then we were up to our rooms.
Inside my room, I dumped by bag, plugged in my laptop, and sent a few e-mails to let people know I had arrived safely. I prepared for bed.
As I rummaged through my luggage, something was bugging me…
“Hm…let’s see…shorts, pants, underwear, shirts…”
My eyes went wide.
I hadn’t brought socks.