Awaking groggily to an 8.30 alarm, I prepared for today’s mission, getting to Newfoundland. St. John’s is a plane ride away, but that silver bird flies out of Halifax; so it’s the last hurrah for Camelot, its twelve merry knights diesel-wheeling from Moncton to Stanfield airport. The day was bright, the temperature mild, and Bus Driver Wayne drove us over roads threading sandy rivers, muddy flats, and trees, trees, trees. When trees were absent, there were farms, and on higher ground, houses stood watch over vast emptiness. Dan looked upon them, wondering which workful property would best fit into a defence strategy should New Brunswick ever flood with zombies. I’d say the first place to loot would be the nearest Canadian Tire: hit the ammo shelves first, then get into some hockey armour.
As Production Manager Dave and Production Assistant Renée had checked us into our flight the night previous, dropping luggage at the airport was beguilingly quick; I left the check-in counter asking myself, ‘What just happened?’ I made sure it wasn’t an elaborate hoax by checking that I hadn’t been pick-pocketed, and sure enough, it really was a simple, non-grifting experience. So too was the bag x-ray and metal detector; well, it was quick, but it was also interesting. My mind was somewhat taken by a particular device. On the floor, a black, padded platform rose gradually a mere inch from its similar, rubbery surroundings. When entering the domain of x-ray a friendly lady invited us singly, orderly, to stand on the raised portion of floor. At head height a few feet away, a simple, dark panel fired up some LEDs into arrow shapes, determining which direction the traveller was to travel next. Overrun with curiosity, I was compelled to ask the lady what on Earth drove this divine process, what it was, what it meant. She told me (and I hope I’m getting this right in recollection) that it was a sort of weighing randomiser. You stand on it, and it determines whether or not you go through the special lane, in which, the full-body scan thingy awaits. Without standing on the ‘what a terrorist weighs’ machine, the lady directed me into the special lane; I guess curiosity is deemed suspicious. I still wanted to have a turn on the Terror Judger, so I hopped onto it anyway and sure enough, yes I am a Harbinger of Terror; it correctly directed me into the appropriate lane. The special lane.
** Warning — Rant Alert **
Having placed my bags on the x-ray belt and felt about my person for stray metallic objects, I stepped through the metal detector and heard a beep — probably the eyelets on my shoes. The man attending the detector informed me that it was a beep signalling the need for a random spot check. He swiped my hands and belt-line with a clean cloth held by some sort of wand/holder thing and put the cloth into the sniffer machine. While I awaited the results, I did what everyone does — worry that I really was playing with explosives, and maybe forgot. But the worry was interrupted by a sudden thought — What do you mean the metal detector goes off randomly? What the fuck are you talking about? (You must know, dear reader, I merely thought the obscenity.) But for fup’s sake; into what sort of crapulent, politically correct farce has air safety degenerated? RANDOM beeps at a metal detector? RANDOM fuppin’ weight-scales determining if you’re a threat to civilised society? Are you fupping kidding me? Might the randomly generated beep at the metal detector NOT go off in the presence of a knife, because it beeped twice in succession already, and three in a row isn’t random? God almighty, we couldn’t have anything that wasn’t random, lest some offended nutjob claim they were being ‘profiled’. What sort of linguistic bubble does the PC Squad think we live in? I know — exactly the bubble we’ve created, by being so sensitive and hoity-toity in airports.
While living in Toronto, I once came home from a tour, waited an eternity in line at Customs, and a man and woman in front of me were aghast that someone up ahead was being frisked. The male friskee (I don’t know what else to call someone being frisked, except for happy) had his hands clasped above his head while the frisker went about, er, frisking. You know what the woman in front of me said?
‘Oh,’ she said indignantly, bringing a flattened palm to her chest, ‘I don’t need to see that,’ as if she was witness to some heavy-handed state brutality.
Her male co-talker was equally disgusted at the sight of (how dare they) Customs officials carrying out a simple pat-down. Fupping idiots. Because of people like them, who feign offence at the simplest of things, we have ‘random’ checks, so no one could ever be accused outright of looking suspicious. Hell, run a nit-comb through my hair if it’ll keep the plane up, I don’t care. Just don’t lie to me. Anyway, I snapped into a present Halifax upon the beeping of the sniffer machine; I wonder if THAT’S random as well? But I thought to myself, oh thank heavens, I guess I haven’t been playing with explosives. I then proceeded to continue my jovial way to St. John’s, having somehow avoided the special full-body scan thingy in the end. I don’t know.
** End rant **
After an uneventful flight, we arrived at our hotel in St. John’s around 6pm local time. There is a half-hour difference between here and the Atlantic time zone, which puts me three and a half hours behind home. If I were some migratory bird whom I can’t be bothered to research, I’d be 2,052 miles from Larne. So near, yet hang on a minute, that’s not near at all. As the prairie audiences will be aware, St. John’s was originally meant to be the last stop of the winter/spring leg of this tour, but we have since made different plans, and will return to Winnipeg and Regina on the 26th and 28th of April. So even though we’re not at the end, our hotel was the venue for an end-of-tour soirée, generously provided by Leonard. Unlike the soirée in Barcelona last year, where I got cosmically fupped up on mojitos and Amaretto, I got crazy tonight with Perrier. After a couple of tame fizzies, I thought to myself, ‘Right, forget this, I’m going on the hard stuff,’ and asked the bartender to put some orange juice in my next Perrier. You should have seen me.
Having seen everyone I see nearly every day, and having drank myself silly with effervescent flair, I retired to my sober room and here is where you find me right this instant. Bon nuit monde, à demain.