Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In which there are events almost more unfortunate than Lemony Snicket's series of said events

Hello world. No I am not dead, sorry to disappoint in that regard. I have just caught a really, really bad cold. I sound like a 90-year-old woman who went to the grave and returned... or like a bullfrog... you decide (I think the first choice was the most poetic though). Anyways, this was (I swear it) my last extended absence from blogging. It was more extended than I expected, due to a series of events that just ate up my time and made my life suck for a while.
So... events (sorry, my blocked sinuses mess with my brain and chronology just failed me)...

Well, I guess the first key event that happened last week was the end of my Summer Temporary period with Air Canada. It was a bitter-sweet parting, really. Despite all my complaining on the blog (yeah, I know I do that a lot... sorry!), I really did like my job. I did not like passengers from France, but, aside from that, it was a great job. In all honesty, it was my very first job that I did not HATE. I loved the variety in my day of work. It never really got dull. It was very hard and very physical work (not for sissies, that's for sure!), but it was enjoyable and easy to do with a smile. There is always something interesting going on at the airport. So, except for the few passengers that were real... uhm... arses (and I'm being polite)... it was great! I will especially miss my colleagues who made my job fun. I thoroughly enjoyed gossiping about this and that passenger or XYZ movie star that passed through the airport during a shift. So yeah - now that Air Canada is over, I can relax and I am a lot less stressed. No more weird schedules or double shifts (sadly, also means no more money...) and passengers pressuring you to get things done eight hours before their departure. However, it also means that there will be days when I will not know what to do with myself and miss the hustle and bustle ambiance created by the airport. And the laughter with the colleagues. I will totally miss that. Luckily, I have a great boyfriend and roommate to keep me cheered up. And, hopefully, I will be hired again for the Winter season with Air Canada. That would be really nice.

Now, before I move on to the next event, I must finish with a few Air Canada anecdotes, as I had promised many more than I was actually able to write out. In my last few weeks of work, I met a) the worst passenger to ever cross the airport; and b) some really cool individuals. Here are the stories.

A) A passenger was traveling back to Paris with Air Canada to the Charles-de-Gaulle airport (who wants to go THERE?! Seriously!). This is not particularly unusual... it just means that you have to deal with a lot of France French (blergh!). But this French guy was the worst I have ever encountered. It is CLEARLY posted, all over the Internet (on aircanada.com in the info and services section, under "Baggage"), that Air Canada only accept 1 BAG PER PASSENGER on flights to the US and Europe. It is even placed in a beautiful, easy-to-read, coloured chart. So when the passenger with 2 bags to Europe starts lamenting to my colleague that "it says NOWHERE on the website that I am only allowed 1 bag! It says you are allowed 2!" and my colleague insists that, no, our website clearly states that the second bag to Europe is for a fee... the conversation is already going downhill. The passenger stomped away angrily to look at one of the seven thousand signs all over the airport giving you a nice chart (like the one online) with exact detail of how many bags one is allowed to check in. The sign says something like this:
Baggage Allowance
Flights Within Canada: 1st Bag = Free 2nd Bag = Free 3rd Bag = 100$CAN
Flights to the USA: 1st Bag = Free 2nd Bag = 30$CAN 3rd Bag= 225$CAN
Flights to International Destinations (except Europe and USA): 1st Bag = Free 2nd Bag = Free 3rd Bag = 225$CAN
Flights to Europe: 1st Bag = Free 2nd Bag = 50$CAN 3rd Bag = 225$CAN

This is almost exactly the signs we have planted everywhere in the airport... And so the passenger read this sign and stormed back to my colleague. "You are a LIAR!" he yelled. "The sign RIGHT THERE says I am allowed 2 bags for FREE and the 3rd one is 100$!!"
At this point, I had to get involved, as I know that sign like the back of my hand. "Sir, the 3rd bag for 100$ is only for flights within Canada. If you look again, just a little lower on the chart, you will see that, to Europe, the second bag is 50$ and the third is 225$."
Seriously? No. But I was sure thinking it!
Anyways, he ended up storming off, saying he would never travel with AC again and saying that if there are no passengers, we have no jobs. He said he sincerely wished homelessness upon us. Luckily, that jerk is not our only passenger. We hoped he would not make his flight. Sadly, he did.

B) Now for the awesome ones...
The first one was pretty cool. It was not something particularly impressive, but interesting nonetheless. He was flying to Shanghai with only a small backpack and a briefcase. Nothing more. Curious, I asked: "You must be one of the very few who travels such a long way and brings so little!" He smiled and said he was only staying in Shanghai for four days, continuing on to Tokyo for four more and then going to Hong Kong for three days before coming home. I said that was an unusual trip and enquired on what the purpose of his trip was (it is always good to make conversation with passengers). He said he was one of the directors for Cirque du Soleil in Japan. He was going to China to do some recruiting, going to work a little on a show in Tokyo and then going to do some more recruiting before coming home for a tad of family vacation. I was awed. I did not think I would meet a director of Cirque du Soleil someday! It was cool.

The second one was really funny. It was a pirate. I mean it. The guy wore full pirate garb! From head to toe, he was basically donning Captain Barbossa's outfit (with a few minor differences). My colleagues were all awed by his face. It was browned and wrinkly by too much sun (what a sun-tanned old pirate should look like) with a long, straggly and braided black beard and a shock of long greasy hair under a jaunty hat. It freaked out my colleagues that "he really LOOKS like a pirate!" I thought it was awesome. Especially because the guy was missing a leg! He only had about ten inches of thigh and then nothing. He was leaning on a wooden crutch. I think it is clever of him to have made the best out of the situation (the situation being losing your leg) by making himself into a pirate! I actually remarked to him that he was one week early for Talk Like a Pirate Day, to which he giggled. My colleagues were awed that I actually talked to him. The funniest part though, is that he never checked in. He stood in line until he got to the check in counter and then left. I do not know what he was up to, but he cause quite a stir! lol

The third encounter made me squee. I met the pilot of the Gimli Glider by pure accident! ^_^ I actually checked the guy in! For those who do not know, Captain Pearson, who was the pilot of the Gimli Glider, is a hero of modern aviation. Air Canada flight 143 left dear old Montreal airport on July 23rd, 1983 to head to Edmonton. About halfway through the flight, an alarm sounded, alerting the pilots that the engines had run out of fuel. This is any pilot's worst nightmare, I think. Despite the end seeming near, Captain Pearson and his co-pilot safely landed the aircraft in Gimli, Manitoba (which used to be an Air Force base) without anyone dying or being grievously injured. They accomplished this feat by using glider techniques. To understand how impressive their maneuver was, I strongly suggest you look up the episode on Discovery Channel's Mayday. It is AWESOME what they did! And so you can imagine my squee when I checked in this aviation hero! When I asked for his ID, he held out his retired Air Canada employee card. Out of curiosity, I enquired what he used to do at Air Canada. He said he used to be a pilot but I was probably to young to have heard of him. I told him to try me. When he mentioned the Gimli Glider (which is the nickname flight 143 was given after the events), I realized I had Captain Pearson in front of me!! It was so cool! ^_^

So those were my awesome encounters. One of my colleagues saw Robert Pattinson on the American side of the Airport. It is confirmed: the guy is ugly as all hell and apparently, also the biggest jerk the planet has ever encounter. He is a worse divo than many others that have come through the airport. I am very happy I did NOT have to encounter that Twilight twat of an actor!... Pity my colleagues who did meet him though.

Brutal change of subject...

The other events that prevented me from blogging were all related to the McGill administration. THEY SUCK! I am seriously starting to think that they do not want their undergrads to graduate. It was so complicated to get everything done! It turns out that grades and transcripts are not enough to graduate at McGill. No. You need audit sheets to be signed by a prof to prove and confirm that you will have completed your programme by the date you put down on your audit sheet. And this sheet needs to be handed in before a certain date or you cannot graduate. I thankfully found out just in the nick of time or I would have been stuck, unable to graduate. But I am seriously starting to miss High School, where they looked at your transcripts, saw your grades and went: "Oh, great! You pass! Here is your diploma!". Apparently, your transcripts are not worth anything at McGill because they do not confirm that you have completed your programme. What sort of sick bureaucracy is this?!
And, to top it all off, it was really, really difficult to make my schedule this semester. All the classes were at the SAME BLOODY TIME! Every class I had to take turned out to be at 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. How the Hell was I supposed to balance this out?! After much discussion with advisors, I was able to sort it out, but man did it take time and running around for absolutely no good reason! grrrr! Stupid McGill administration!!!

And, finally, I had my audition for the McGill Savoy Society this year. I was, for the first time, really going for a role (that of Mad Margaret for Ruddigore). I kind of blew it. Mostly by becoming really, really, REALLY sick the night before and thus ending up with a near complete voice extinction on the very day of my audition. Try singing "I Can Hear the Bells" from Hairspray when your throat feels like it will suffer imminent Diphteria and your sinuses threaten to make your skull explode! It is agony! It sucks, it hurts and you sound terrible (even more so than usual). Add nerves to that and you end up with poor acting and tears by the end of your audition. I hope I can still get the role, but my hopes are currently low...

Furthermore, this morning, I woke up and my mouth hurt from the pressure in my sinuses. Conclusion, I am really, really bloody sick. I blame Michael. He's been having a man-cold for a while and I think he gave it to me. But it seems to have hit me tenfold because everyone around me is sick too and there have been some extreme and sudden weather changes of late... *sniffle* I hate being sick!

I probably had much more to say but this post already seems torturously long, so I will stop myself here. Wish me luck with getting my health back, I will need it so I can impress people at callbacks for Savoy (which are on Saturday). Hopefully I will rock those and I will get the role.

And that, everyone, was my series of unfortunate events that lead to an abscence of blog posts. I will now go make myself more tea... *sniffle*

P.S. Despite the oncoming illness, Talk Like A Pirate Day rocked! I was not a historical pirate, but still a drop-dead sexy pirate wench, if I do say so myself! ^_^ Too bad I do not have any pictures... And I bought some AWESOME spiced mead for said Pirate Day. It comes in a stone bottle with a wax seal! How cool is that?! And it was yummy too!
........ Okay, tea now!

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