Today started out reasonably well. I woke up early enough to get to spend a little time with my wife and still get to the airport well before I needed to board my flight to Montreal. That’s unusual for me. I use the Portland airport enough that I usually get there with just enough time to get to the gate. But, since this was an international flight (Canada still counts as international, right?), I thought I’d get there early. And, that was fortunate. Because little did I know that I had entered travel purgatory.
Problem #1: Getting a boarding pass. I stepped up to the check-in kiosk rather confidently. I had my passport, e-ticket number, and confirmation number. In short, everything that would seem to be required to check in for a flight. Two kiosks and one marginally helpful ticketing agent later, I found myself in the “not as long as the Great Wall of China but still long enough to make you want to abuse small animals” line for the ticketing counter. Rather than boring you with the details, I’ll just say that it took almost 90 minutes to get a boarding pass. Not to get through security mind, you just to get the boarding pass. I never did find out what the problem was. I’m pretty sure it had to do with a butterfly flapping its wings in New York, or something like that.
Problem #2: Boarding the Plane. You’d think after all of the difficulties that the airline had with getting me a boarding pass, they would have resolved any difficulties associated with actually getting on the plane. Indeed, I always thought that the whole idea of getting a “boarding” pass is that it would in fact allow you to “board” the plan. (Maybe I’m committing some kind of etymological fallacy here, but it doesn’t seem like it.) Instead, I got pulled out of the boarding line both in Portland and trying to make my connection on Toronto. It seems that some kind of computer gnome is following me around the country making sure that everything about this trip runs as roughly as possible.
Problem #3: Getting to the Hotel. Okay, this one was partly my fault. I took the express bus from the airport into downtown Montreal. And, I made sure to tell the bus driver where I was going. She indicated that she would make sure that she would announce the stop so I would know when to get off. That seemed reasonable. What seems less reasonable is that by “announce” she meant that she would say out loud that we were approaching my stop. What she didn’t mean is that she would do so in a way that could be heard more than two feet away. (There was no loudspeaker system on the bus.) Apparently, my decision no to actually sit in the bus driver’s lap meant that I did not hear the announcement and missed my stop. On a positive note, though, this did mean that I got to visit the downtown metro terminal and see part of bus route from the other direction. Riveting.
Problem #4: My Wifi Connection. I don’t have one. Apparently my laptop has stopped connecting to wireless networks. Actually, I noticed this way back at the beginning when I was taking a study sabbatical at the Portland airport, but I thought it was maybe a problem with the PDX system. Arriving at my hotel this evening, I see that it isn’t. Somehow the computer gnome leaped from teh airline systems to my own. Fortunately, I can connect through my phone until I get it fixed.
So, that was my day in travel purgatory. It actually wasn’t an entire loss. I had an empty seat next to me all the way from Portland to Toronto, and I had a nice time reading Kelsey’s Eccentric Existence (just pages from finishing the first volume). And, I just got back from a very nice dinner with Chuck Conniry (George Fox) and Robert Redman (Multnomah). So, the day was not a total loss. Nonetheless, I hope I don’t have to visit travel purgatory again anytime soon.