February 13, 2008

4:35am --- A Day In The Life

3 O'clock In The Morning
I'm Getting Ready For Bed
It Came Without A Warning
--- Paul McCartney, Picasso's Last Words
I don't travel to Calgary often. Mornings aren't my best time. Toronto had lots of snow yesterday. I plowed the driveway before sleeping. Airport limos refused to take reservations for morning flights.

Wednesday, Feb 13, 2008 at 4:35am: I wake up after three hours of sleep, which is far too little. On a whim, I phone for a limo pickup at 5:30am and get one. At least I won't have the stress of driving. The limo arrives a few minutes early, right on schedule. The slow plows pass by my house just before we leave. Roads are plowed but slippery. We pass a bad accident in the leftmost lane just before the airport exit. Tow trucks. Ambulances. Fire trucks. I hope no one's seriously injured.

5:38am: I arrive at the airport. I tip the driver 34.61%. A tv crew is setting up. Maybe they'll be lucky. Flight delays and crowds make news.

5:51am: I'm through security. The lines were short but the metal detector beeped and I was searched manually. This included removing my shoes and overshoes, which were then xrayed. There was a chair to sit on. Good planning.

6:05am: At Gate 137. I printed my boarding pass at home last night and forgot to check for a gate change at the airport. Until I arrived at Gate 124 and see it's for a different flight. The extra walking is good exercise. It'd be great exercise if I were wide awake.

6:45am: The plane is leaving on time. Until the captain announces that de-icing and anti-icing will take 30 minutes. So we'll arrive late but aren't told by how long. We ignore the prerecorded safety reminders but I make a note of the nearest exit. There's an empty seat beside me and reasonable leg room. I'm comfortable. Unfortunately, I'm wearing a suit because I've got a meeting just after landing.

My seatmate lived north of Toronto in Barrie for four years. He's going to Bannf for a two day vacation before moving to Yellowknife for one year.

7:27am: We're airborne. The Airbus A320 will cruise at 34,000 ft. Canada's bilingual but not fully metric. In 1919, a plane powered by BMW's second-ever aircraft engine reached an altitude record of 32,013 feet. At least we've got a pressured, heated cabin.

8:25am: The refreshment service is over and the movie is starting. It's Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth The Golden Age. I'm not interested. A song plays in my head "They say it's the Golden Age. And gold is the reason for the wars we wage". It's New Years Day by U2.

I took a set of sealed headphones but see the earclip for the right ear is missing. That's okay. I would have brought my noise-canceling headphones if I really wanted to listen to anything. In the washroom, there's no hot water. At least there's water. Later I discover the other washroom has no water!?!

8:46am: I'll see if I can sleep for a while. I doze and wake up reasonably recharged. I've got new ideas and start revising material I'd previously prepared.

9:10am (Calgary time, i.e., 11:10am for my body): starting descent. We land 32 minutes late, which is a reasonable sacrifice for a properly de-iced plane.

9:51am: I'm in a limo heading to downtown Calgary. I submit this post and get ready for the official start of the business day.

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