Friday January the 7th. Toronto, and I am awake early in my Crowne Plaza hotel room. I didn’t sleep too good. The bed was great and the room was comfortable but although my flight had been cancelled the night before obviously others hadn’t. I was on the tenth floor of 11 and I could swear that planes were trying to land on the hotel roof during the night. It wasn’t so much the noise but every time one flew overhead my damned bed vibrated in sync with the plane’s engines. I sighed and got up. I needed to get on to Air Canada to find out if they had me on a flight. Asap I hoped. I put coffee on and visited the shower. I was starting to wake up after this and smiled a little as I trousered the extra shampoos/soap/cosmetics for future use. Yea we all do it. Coffee was ready and as soon as I drank it so was I.
I hit reception to use the phone (I had to pay in my room) and was told there was a ten minute wait to get through to Air Canada. I waited. I got answered. I didn’t like the answer. There were 2 flights a day to Columbus. The first at 3:30pm was fully booked. I was on the 8:20pm flight that night, a full 24 hours after my cancelled flight. A whole wasted day when I could have been with my Raven. But what could I do? I did what I do best. I went outside for a cigarette then had breakfast.
I smoked and then sashayed through into the breakfast room. I had an Air Canada voucher for $7 but man I was hungry. So I paid extra for a BIG breakfast. Bacon sausage eggs fried potatoes toast and unlimited coffee. It was good and restored some happiness. I was replete. Next on to reception. I had to book out at midday and I went and told my tale of woe. The receptionist was great. She joined me up with some travel club for free which meant I could stay in my room till 3pm. I could also stay and use the hotel facilities all day if I wished and they would store my luggage till flight time. Happy days indeed.
I called Raven to tell her the bad news and went back to my room. Not much to do. I did toy briefly with the idea of looking around Toronto or maybe using the hotel pool and sauna but inaction got the better of me. I laid on the bed and watched Canadian daytime TV. Hmm, much the same as US daytime TV. I learned how to make my make-up look better. How to do my hair better. I watched makeovers and film stars waffling on about home cooking (Gwyneth Paltrow)….I fell asleep.
I woke up to another jet passing over. Boy they were close. I looked out the window and took pics. Yep I was a long way up….eek! I thought I’d head down to reception again just for something to do. I helped myself to lobby coffee and one of the tasty looking croissants laid out there. It was only later that I realised I was supposed to pay for them….oops. Never mind. And that was how the day went … boring. But I sorted out the luggage and nicked the remaining packs of room coffee etc and finally I headed back to the airport. Might as well be bored there as anywhere.
I couldn’t book my luggage in until I had cleared US immigration again. I shouldn’t have any problems there as I already had my passport stamped and my entry permit stuck in there too so I took my time with a Starbucks and a last few cigarettes outside the departure terminal. I again was pleased at how friendly Canadians are as usually one would start chatting as we smoked together outside. One even high fived me as I left and wished me happy landings.
I made my way through to the Air Canada desk and they directed me through to the US immigration. As usual the queue was long. I queried my being there with the lady in charge of the queue. I mean I’d done all this yesterday. Couldn’t I just go straight through? I knew it was a hopeless question but I asked anyway. I joined the queue. Again I wondered if US Border Patrol guards are paid slowness incentive bonuses but eventually I was directed to my appointed officer. Eek! He looked just like Sam Eagle from the muppets. I wondered if they got the idea of him from this guy. He even sounded the part. Still. This wouldn’t take long. Would it? I was fingerprinted and retinal scanned. “Yes they haven’t changed since yesterday.” I smiled. He grunted. I watched in horror as he scrawled the big red ‘SI’ on my paperwork. “Secondary Investigation? I know where it is.” I almost cried. Not AGAIN!… Sam Eagle almost raised a smile and said. “Didn’t do ya a lot of good that visa did it?” I strongly resisted the urge to tell him to go pluck himself and headed off to the Secondary Investigation office with my yellow clipboard.
I looked around for my guy from yesterday but no luck. I think they must’ve sacked him for being too pleasant. I get some huge black woman. I try to explain that I done all this last night but she just scowls at me over her glasses and tells me none too sweetly to sit down and wait. She will deal with me shortly. I sit down and seethe inwardly. I mean if I was OK to let in yesterday then why not today. Maybe they suspected me of joining some Canadian white slaving outfit or pulling a bank job since then? It would be ironic if they didn’t let me in now after I thought I was OK yesterday.
© 2011 Stan Rogers. All rights reserved.