August 9, 2005

There is the downside.

So my gentle knit friends, it is not all yarn and fun and travelling and good people and yarn. (Though mostly it is.) There is also the downside. Mostly, this downside is self inflicted, though I occasionally have help turning my life into a parody of normal existence.

The last little bit of my journey has been like that.

The morning I was to leave Vancouver, I got up in plenty of time. Let me re-iterate. PLENTY of time. I got a cab, no problem, then it started. The planets little reminder that I am me. Traffic. Lots of traffic. Heart crushing, soul eating, time-sucking traffic. I got to the airport doing that mental countdown and knowing that everything had to go exactly right to catch my flight. I walked into the terminal and just about fainted. An enormous lineup for the checkin. I got in line and hoped the line was moving quickly. It wasn't. I stood there for 20 minutes, containing my inner hysteria, knitting socks.

After this period, I came to my senses and spotted a "self check in" computer thingie. I checked myself in, and pressed "Next" for instructions on what to do next. Unbelievably, the next thing to do was to get into the same line to check my bag. Broken, I retreated to the back of the line (I lost my spot when I tried to save time) and resumed knitting my sock (perhaps with a slightly different tension.) inching along the line, kicking my purse ahead of me for emphasis.
When I was back up to the check-in machines I did my best to warn a large family off of them. "It doesn't save time" I said. "You have to get back in the same line." They stared at me and recklessly used the machine anyway. Foolish me, they had a plan. Their plan, as I stood there, watching the minutes 'till my boarding call tick by...was to use the machine, and then standing right next to me in the lineup, wait for the lady ahead of me to move along and then insert their entire family into the queue in front of me.

Now, I'm a nice person. If I'm not in a hurry I don't give a crap about this kind of thing. I am a rock in a river, I just let it flow over me. But this time I am a rock that is going to miss her flight, so I said something.
"Excuse me. The line forms back there". And I smiled.
The woman looks at me like I'm out of my mind (and rude, which I am not) and she says
"We don't have time to wait in that line". Pardon me? You don't have time to wait in the line? Pardon me?
"I'm sorry, I really don't have time for you to go ahead of me. I'm going to miss my flight." I smiled again. (Though for the life of me, I can't imagine why.)
The woman turns around, clearly annoyed with me, in exactly the same way that you are annoyed with flies over your picnic, and says:
"That's not my problem."

Well. Let me tell you. I was furious. (I also did nothing, which only made me more furious.) I waited behind them and I hated them. After checking in my checkin piece of paper, I checked in my baggage and proceeded to security. It was slow, I was exploding. Exploding. Looking at the clock, furious with the guy who didn't take off his belt until they asked him to, wasting precious moments. Furious with the lady who was wearing Fort Knox in jewelry and then removed it one by one and handed it all to her husband who put it all into his POCKETS. Furious. Finally my turn. Whipped through (minor discussion about why I had so many knitting needles, some minor begging. No problem) ran through the terminal to the furthest possible gate, and ran at a flat out tilt up to the woman at the gate and begged her to allow me on the flight even though the door was closed. I launched into a big talk about how I really needed it and pleasepleaseplease don't leave me here....when she smiled at me and told me my flight was delayed by hours.

I waited. I also got my arse kicked by the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. I'm knitting it like someone on crack.


(Sorry, did someone ask me about the blue shawl? What blue shawl?) I keep needing to tink this and rip and,'s worth it. I love geometrics, and I'm pretty fond of the way the piece self-edges. I'm sure that as soon as I have less hostility it will all fall together.

I eventually got to Edmonton. Beautiful city. The Saskatchewan river (I think it's the Saskatchewan, you Edmonters can correct me) flows right by the downtown and it's just lovely. It's also light. As in, there is a great deal of light. I took this picture at 9:45pm.


It was just then sunset. (Despite the fact that I was freezing, I thought this huge amount of light was a big bonus for living north of Toronto.)


The sock and I found a little park and we had a rest. (The sock is very homesick. I've tried to tell it how lucky it is, but it misses Joe and the girls.) I woke up the next morning, and feeling somewhat restored, I decided to tidy the hotel room. I sorted some yarn, and I took up the room service tray to put outside the door. I opened the door, put the tray on the ground and heard a little "Click" behind me.
That was the door locking. I was locked in the hall. Was my room key in my pants pocket? Yes it was, however, that realization was of no use to me, because I was not wearing my pants.

In fact, all I was wearing was a bra and underpants.
(Not even good underpants. I should really try to do better.) This sick realization swept over me as I stood, pressed against the door to the room trying to pass my molecules through it to the other side.
Then I tried to pick the lock with the room service knife. Then I realized that I needed a new plan.
A house phone? Maybe the hotel had a house phone on my floor. I sprinted along the hall looking for it. No luck, and when I heard the elevator chime, I flattened myself against the ice machine until whoever it was went away.
Standing there, in my undergarments, almost naked and sort of frozen to the ice machine, both spiritually and literally, I realized that this was going to end badly. That there was nothing I could do to end it well, and that all I could do was try and end it with dignity, grace and speed. I snuck (in as much as a half crazy mostly naked woman can sneak) back down the hall to the service area and snagged a smallish towel. I wrapped it around me and returned to the elevator. I took a deep breath, stepped inside and pushed the button for the lobby.

Nothing happened. Oh, silly me. YOU NEED A KEY TO WORK THE ELEVATOR. While I was standing there, stunned that I was truly screwed, wondering when I was going to get smart enough that these things don't happen to me, and contemplating the "emergency use only" phone. A gentleman got on the elevator. He looked at me, looked straight ahead and then said only "Hi."
"Hi" I replied. (Noticing for the first time that the elevator was completely mirrored - so I could view my humiliation from all angles) "I appear to have misplaced my key. Would you mind swiping your card for the lobby?"
"Sure" he said, and we rode in silence all the way down.

When we got the to lobby, the door opened, the gentleman stepped off and I tried to. I really did. I willed myself to move, but was paralyzed, looking at all the people. I stood there. I just stood there. After a minute, the guy was back.
"Would you like me to tell someone you are in here?" he asked.
"Oh. Yes. That would be lovely. Thanks so much." I said, with as much of that aforementioned dignity as I could muster, and off he went.
I waited, until what seemed like forever later, the concierge popped his head in and said "Excuse me madame. If you could tell us your room number?" I gave it to him, and moments later he was back. I will be forever grateful to him for the way he handed me the key. He simply passed it to me, exactly like I wasn't wearing a towel in the elevator and said "Enjoy your stay." Just like that.

When I got back to the room (After wishing some elderly couple in the hallway a "good afternoon") I had a lie down. A long lie down. (Only then did it occur to me that I wished I had been locked out with my camera and the sock.) Then I put on better underpants.
You never know.


The sock is seen here with the towel that made it all bearable, despite it's pitiful size.
The event that night was at Audrey's books, and the sock (spared indignities in the afternoon) had a great time.


Edmonters made me feel right at home, and the sock and I were thrilled. Tonight, I'm at McNally Robinson books in Calgary at 7:00.
I'm planning to wear clothes.

Posted by Stephanie at August 9, 2005 1:20 AM