Stuck on board a 3 hr 45 minute flight from YYZ to YYC, we are seated behind two balding men in “cool” hoodies yelling to each other about investment strategies. Behind us are a woman and her heavily-made-up teenage daughter. The latter seems fearful of flying; the former is “soothing” her in a loud, abrasive voice.
I am not soothed.
The daughter keeps yapping for a while, and eventually drifts off to sleep. The mother continues to grate on everyone around her for about 20 more minutes, then she, too, settles down for a nap.
Soon the flight attendants come through with their cart of in-flight snacks available for purchase. The healthy, fresh, Asian vegetable wrap and cheese with fruit platter I had pre-ordered online at a savings of 50 cents a piece are not on board, nor is there any record of them, or of the other three pre-ordered meals on this flight. The flight attendant is very apologetic, and offers us complementary nacho chips and twizzlers, the only other “vegetarian” options on board.
Enroute to Calgary, it occurs to me that we are sitting in the “diversity row”: In an aircraft filled with very loud, very white, very straight-looking middle-aged men (some with their Barbie-perfect wives), we are most certainly the only queer women on board. Sitting next to us is the only black man on the plane.
The bald guys begin chatting noisily about gambling.
While booking this short but special adventure to an impressive resort town in western Canada, I had somehow overlooked the fact that we would be traveling to, arguably, the most right-wing, conservative province in Canada.
The manner and style of the vast majority of my fellow passengers has reminded me of that fact.
It’s quite amazing to me that the same fine country in which some of us scheme about how to find intensive reading support for the oldest child of a family living in poverty that we volunteer with, others choose to spend their spare time engaging in loud, aggressive arguments about how many thousands are okay to blow at the racetrack after work on Fridays. (And I bet not all of the latter live in Alberta, either!)
I can’t help but wonder how our romantic weekend getaway will unfold. Will the hotel that caters to mainly wealthy, repeat guests who come to blow many thousands of dollars on room service and ski lift tickets each year be hospitable to this first-and-probably-only-time, non-traditional couple from Ontario? Should I have stayed home in open-minded Toronto, and spent Family Day weekend with the rest of my family (namely, the kids and their dad, who are – as I write this – just leaving Saturday Morning German School and heading out for an afternoon of…?) instead?
Part of me misses them already--our 7 a.m. telephone call reminding the boys to wash their hair this morning, and where they told me “love you, Mommy!” seems so long ago; on the other hand, we will be spending all of March Break together, on our own special adventure (Trevor and I are taking the boys to Germany to meet their (my) family there, finally), and I so rarely have a child-free, beagle-free weekend alone with the Russian…
I suspect that despite the investment guys and the noisy make-up lady and all their right-wing, privileged friends, it will nevertheless be a fun and enjoyable weekend! After all, I’m privileged enough to be in a position to find myself in their company, loosely speaking.
I look forward to leaving the noisy airplane behind, taking in my first view of the Canadian Rockies, and enjoying a weekend filled with dog sledding, snow-shoeing, and other crazy adventures I will bring back to both my students at school and my own children next week!