Thursday, July 7, 2011

The eagle has landed....

...which is to say, Steve made it to London.  Some adventures along the way... adventures implicating the mighty bathrobe.  A bathrobe, you say? Yep.  Story goes like this.
First, recall that Steve had that lovely first class air ticket, but it was from VANCOUVER to London (British Airways does not fly into Victoria).... he still had to get to Vancouver first.  No problem.  A flight from Victoria to Vancouver on  Aircanaca involves a mere 14 minutes of airtime.  Nonetheless, there were a few details to sort out.
You see, a first class ticket with BA means you get to check 3 bags, and carry on an additional 3.  With Air Canada cattle car, you get to check 1 bag and carry on 2.  It is $20 extra for the first additional bag, and $100 for the second.  Steve had two suitcases, one lap top bag, and one knapsack.  By my math, that is four items.  I suggested he pay the extra $20 to check one.  Nope.  Too cheap.  He was confident he could check one and carry on 3.  OK.  I was prepared to watch.

Off he went to security.  As he passed through the doors, the guy there stopped him and said, "two bags only!"  Duncan and I stayed to watch as steve tried to convince them that his three bags were small and could be turned into two bags.  The guy said, "Then do it".  So... we watched as Steve tried to force his knapsack into the suitcase.  No luck.  Nor the laptop bag.  So, he started taking items out of the suitcase (including his big white housecoat), to stuff into the knapsack, in order to make room in the suitcase so the laptop bag would fit.  He kept trying various combinations as the lineup behind him kept getting bigger and bigger.  Finally, one of the women from security came out, took the housecoat he was trying to stuff in the bag, and neatly folded it so it would fit in.  With that piece out of the way, and a bit of elbow grease, he succeeded in closing the zipper.  Success.
Frankly, I would have just paid the $20, but that is just me.  I must say though, I certainly got $20 worth of value watching him through the security gate... particularly when he looked back at me and Duncan standing on the other side of the gate, and said, "You are just loving this, aren't you?"   :-)  yep......It was also interesting to see that a first class ticket doesn't get you too far in Victoria.  When Steve was first checking in, the Air Canada clerk agreed that she could tag his bags right through to London.  Steve pointed to his first class boarding pass for British Air, and asked if she had tagged his bag as "priority".  She looked right back at him and said, "Well you are not Priority for us." Gotta love that 'customer comes first' attitude!  :-)

But... back to the story....I got the call today from Steve saying he had arrived fine.  However, it turns out that "fully furnished" does not mean the same thing to brits and canadians.  So.... he arrived in London, not having slept for more than a day, having had the adventure of getting to the new house using the tube system (and yes... now he understandings the suffering that can be wrought by an unexpected flight of stairs to be walked in the tube), only to discover that the house had beds, but no sheets, blankets or pillows.  And thus, we return to the housecoat.  He said it functioned just fine as a blanket for the first night!  (he also told me that there was no toilet paper in the house, but I assume the housecoat was not called upon for a second task!)

All hail the mighty houscoat.

1 comment:

  1. Your story about Steve’s housecoat having the capacity to be folded so well that it could be tucked into an already overloaded suitcase reminded me of the following story Doral tells in his memoirs (p 34).

    “When my first year of university was over I had no money, but thought I could hitch-hike home with the $10 my dad had sent me. I went walking down the street and saw a fellow, Del Buchanan, walking with a great big suitcase. I stopped him and asked him what he was doing. He told me that he was going to sell woollen goods for the Utah Woollen Mills in the western part of Montana. I asked him how he got that job and he said anybody could get a job like that if they had a car. Well, I had no car, but he asked me to come and go with him. We would work from the same car. He even told me that if I would buy all of the gasoline and oil that he would take care of all other car expenses, but that otherwise each of us would work for himself. I thought the idea a good one so I told him O.K.
    He asked me if I had a big suitcase and I told him no, so he told me that for $10, exactly the amount I had on me, I could get one like his and that the Utah Woollen Mills would fill it with samples without any charge. The deal all sounded so good it was only a couple of hours before we were on our way to western Montana. When we got the old Ford Coupe to our territory, we were flat broke, the car needed gas (my responsibility) and things looked tough. Since he had been on a mission for 2 years and was used to knocking on doors and talking with people I asked him to make the first contact. I was afraid, but I didn’t know he was even worse off than I was, so I agreed to make the first contact. I asked him drive around and let me pick the house. Soon we saw a log house, so I told him that would be the one. I thought surely nobody in there would be able to embarrass me, so that was my choice for my first “contact”.

    When I knocked, a lady came to the door and invited me in. I opened the suitcase (I hadn’t even done that before) and we started looking through samples. I don’t know how the Utah Woollen Mills got so many samples ion one suitcase, and these people seemed to “like them all”. It seemed like a certain sale, until they told me they had no money! I thanked them and started to put the samples back in the suitcase. Just why my Mother had never taught me to fold samples, I don’t know, but I do know that if I had two suitcases that size I couldn’t have got them all back in there, so I went out of the house with everything I could get in the suitcase and the rest tucked under my arms and draped over my shoulders. At that time I ws so shy (I was 18 years old) and embarrassed that I think it is still one of the most memorable times of my life. When I got to the car Del asked what I was going to do now, and I told him go to the hotel, get a room and practice putting samples in a suitcase. He said we had no money, so we couldn’t do that, but the way I felt it couldn’t get worse so we went to a rooming house, and got a room.
    I spent a long time with those samples figuring out where the wrinkles were that showed me how to fold them, and then putting them in and taking them out of the suitcase, until I could do it with ease, and then I told Del I was ready. We drove around again, but this time I picked a house that looked like they had some money, so I went and knocked on the door.

    A good lady came to the door, and when I told her my mission she asked me in and told me that she always bought something from salesmen when they came to her door, and took me in. The thing I had that she liked most was a Scotch Plaid blanket, and she wanted to buy it from me, but insisted that she have that one as she couldn’t wait for the factory to send one out. She didn’t know how well this arrangement suited me so she gave me $11.50 for the blanket, and Del and I went back to the hotel with plenty of money to eat, pay our hotel bill, and buy a little gasoline."


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