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Archive: In Transit

June 18, 2009

Originally Published: December 2008: When you live in the North, traveling to the South becomes an integral part of your lifestyle (as does long underwear and online stores with free shipping). Thus, James has put many flights and a few substantial car trips on his nine-month-old resume. However, our travel excursions still remain unpredictable and generally haphazard despite his wealth of experience and in spite of mine.

This year, James and I got a head start on the Christmas visits to avoid the extra costs and total mayhem of “Christmas Season” at the airport – a situation which typically violates section nine of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. When school wraps up, J.D. will fly down to join us with a ticket that cost approximately half his yearly salary. He’s planning on ordering the Clamato juice from the complimentary beverage service. He figures this would be the most expensive option and J.D. likes to get the most for his dollar. He does not enjoy Clamato juice but that is of little importance.

I began thinking about packing approximately one week prior to our departure. I would think, “Now, I must NOT forget to bring item X for James. I really should write that down.” A few days later I would think, “I would be SO hooped if I forgot to bring item Y. When I write down item X, I will write down item Y.” And the next day I would think, “Item Z would be really good to have. When I remember what item X and item Y were, I will write down item Z” and so on. Then about 24 hours before our flight, I really got organized and created a comprehensive list on my computer, which I hoped contained items X,Y and Z but I honestly wasn’t sure. Then the computer crashed and because I have this tragic condition where I forget to save my most important documents, I lost the list. It was in third year university that I abandoned the swearing and hair pulling routine and learned that there’s nothing left to do but calmly wing it. I have yet to discover the essential item we left behind but I have pulled out many non-essential items (i.e. the guitar capo, a thesaurus) and cannot recall the logic I used to justify packing them.

James is an extrovert squared so on our first flight out I was praying we would be seated beside someone who would forgo reading the in-flight magazine to entertain him. A woman approached our row, gave James the once over, then sat down hesitantly and pulled out “Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover’s Soul.” James squawked at her a few times but eventually resorted to squawking at me while doing 360 degree turns on my lap and pulling the hair of the person in front of us. (In five years my phone will ring: “Hello, this is James’ teacher. James is unable to sit still in his desk and constantly seeks negative attention.”) One of the flight attendants offered to hold him for awhile which was great until she came to return him and he clung to her uniform and pretended not to recognize me.

For the second flight I bought James a fancy toy that had rotating parts and flaps that crinkled. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea. Did I really think he would sit quietly on my lap full of gratitude and wonder for this colorful yet meaningless contraption? Needless to say, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when he looked at it for about five seconds – didn’t even pick it up – and then lunged for the in-flight magazine of the person to our right and shortly thereafter, the hair of the person sitting in front of us. I bet item X would have come in really handy.

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