Submitted by megan on Sat, 03/21/2009 - 01:18
As she was walking around the seating area, looking cute, it never once crossed my mind that I'd share a row with her. Or that she'd kick me and grab my arm and drop her apple on my feet several times. Or that she'd take a too big gulp of water, gag, and spray it in big droplets all over my right leg and arm.
My description up there makes her sound like a right terror, but really, she was a nice kid, with trusting eyes and a sweet gap-toothed smile she turned on me delightedly when I picked her apple up off the floor and pretended to eat it. She was acting pretty much how I felt, and the kicks of a slightly squirmy 18 month old aren't that hard to take.
Still and all, it's probably good that I sat beside the toddler and her mum on the first leg of the trip. Even though you become a helluva lot more generous with everyone's kids as soon as you know any kids personally, I have a feeling that if it had been not 3 but 9 hours into my 13 hour travel day, my equanimity might have been rather tested.
The second plane ride was fine, particularly after my 15 year old seatmate put a tuque on over his cigarette-stinking dreads.
Things were not to remain smooth.
Sixty minutes from the end of my 13 hour travel day, I realized that I lost my passport. Somewhere between boarding the plane in Calgary and taking a long awaited piss in Ottawa, it fell out of whatever safe place I tucked it into.
Note to self: always piss before leaving the secure area.
Too late now, hoever. I went up to the Lost & Found. "I've lost my passport," I said. "Think I left it on the plane." The tiny round lady with the reading glasses looked relieved.
"Oh, then. That is not for me. That is Air Canada. Baggage. Air Canada Baggage is right there."
Right there being five steps to my right. I shuffled over, in behind an older couple whose bags had gone missing. I waited, my equanimity growing thin now. What if my passport got missed, or thrown out, because this woman was poring over the luggage chart to make sure she picked the right one? Maybe I could just lean over... after all, it'd just be a quick call up to the gat-
I decided to go through my backpack one more time to keep myself from being rude.
When I looked up, a very tanned and smiling man with buzzed silver hair had appeared like a mirage, was watching me juggling my books and small electronic devices. He'd probably had trusting eyes as a kid too, though they were more streetwise now.
"I think I left my passport on the plane," I said. He opened his mouth.
"AC124," I said. He smiled and opened it again.
"14A," I said. He smiled and clicked his walkie-talkie on.
Was it in the overhead compartment? No. Was it in the seat pocket in front of one-four-alpha? No. Did I want him to call me if they found it? Yes.
He pulled me up on the computer, double-checked my info, printed off a sheet, scrawled a note on it, said "The guy up there is good. If that passport is in the plane, he'll find it. Don't you worry."
"I won't worry." I replied. He wouldn't know I was lying. Though in this case, maybe it's because I was so tired, but I honestly didn't feel much worried.
Of course, it sucks. It totally sucks. It was a stupid thing to do, and a kind of stupid I'm not usually prone to. But enh. Gone is gone. Getting in a flap was not going to make it less gone. I hoped I'd just missed it in my bag. To cover my bases, however, I shuffled back over to Lost & Found to register my loss there, just in case.
The round lady had moved off aways down the hall by now, though she clocked me pretty quick and came over. From five feet away, she said "Yes? Can I help you?"
I was taken aback, since she and I had just chatted about my lost passport not 15 minutes before she used her her most formal retail "I am ready for anything." tone to ask me what I wanted.
"Yes. I was here before about the passport? It doesn't seem to be on the plane, so I think I might have lost it in the hall after getting off it."
She was silent a short beat. "And how can I help you with that?"
I nearly barked a laugh in her face. Funnier even than a toddler spraying water on me.
"Unh, um. This is the Lost & Found? And I lost something?"
She looked at me evenly, silently. We were both equally confused for apparently the same reason.
"Is there maybe a form? That I could fill out? For my lost passport?"
"Oh no no!" she said. Preposterous, obviously, to have a form for lost articles at the Lost & Found counter.
My queries did, at least, galvanize her. She rushed off around a corner, then rushed back and slapped a slab of postit notes and a black pen triumphantly on the ledge in front of me.
"Write down your name and what you lost and how we should reach you. If anyone should happen to find it, we will call you."
My confidence was hardly inspired.
But what was the harm? I wrote down my name, my number, and LOST PASSPORT in big block letters. She'd wandered off again, I made to shove off.
"Oh, oh! Just one moment, please!" She had a business card in her hand. I reached out to take it, but she pulled back, unhooked the phone and wrote down the number that came up on call display. "Here, call this number. It is me, this desk -"
LOST, I thought.
"- and you can call us here to see if we found it."
I looked at my neat block letters on the yellow slab where I'd tossed it on her side of the ledge, about to get itself lost under a drift of loose papers and circulars. I opened my mouth, closed it again, smiled and said good night.