I’m just sitting in the terminal, with no Canadian Currency and a Starbucks looming in the near distance calling my name for some odd reason. As a reminder, I am sitting in the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia thousands of miles from home. I look up and notice a couple of folks whom I know, from back home in Massachusetts. What the heck are the odds of that happening? Neither of us knew that the other was travelling much less passing through the same airport and as it turns out, at the same time. While they were on a different flight, for me, that didn’t negate the awesomeness of the coincidence and it was also a pretty nice break from the waiting around monotony.
Okay, back to the U.S. customs line – it moved along at a pretty good pace through to the first checkpoint where a young lady asked to see the customs declaration form before passing me through without incident. The next room included another human sized mouse maze (sans cheese) eventually leading to break offs where there were yet new lines for each booth were the final waiting spot before meeting with the customs agent.
The original last line I was on seemed a bad choice as there was a large Asian family that were being fingerprinted and questioned – it was taking long enough for me to decide to switch to a different last line that appeared to be moving quicker (and had less of a criminal element being processed). It was at some point waiting on this new last line that I looked over at my old last line to find that standing there waiting was none other than comedian Rex Havens who performed on the ship this past Wednesday evening. I couldn’t stop myself from approaching him if only to let him know how much I enjoyed his show. I told him the same as I wrote here in my journal, that I thought he was very funny and that in my opinion, he should be as well known as anyone else in his business. He thanked me and shook my hand saying that I was very kind to say so. I assumed that would be the end of the pleasantries but a few moments later, Rex approached me, handed me a business card and asked me to send him an email and he would send me a copy of his book and CD “on-the-house”. I told him that I would do so and that he was generous to offer and we both proceeded to deal with the customs process as he made it through his like to meet with an agent and shortly after, I got to meet with mine.
After passing through the customs agent line, and what I expected to be the last line, there was yet one more mouse maze to pass through eventually leading to the x-ray/metal detector screening lanes. Oh, I almost forgot – before entering this line, there was a conveyor belt waiting to relieve me of my checked baggage, which was nice. As I moved along through the line, there were occasions where Rex Havens and I passed each other. I didn’t want to be one of those awkward fans who feel obliged to interact each time we crossed paths. Surprisingly and delightfully, Mr. Havens took the time to interact with me offering jokes and conversation and again reminding me to email him. He is not only a terrific entertainer, but also a cordial and delightful gentleman.
As if enough oddities, both pleasant and not, could happen, there was another waiting for me as I passed through the metal detector, set off an alarm, and became the center of attention. Oh, before I discuss that annoyance, I must say how awful a mistake I made not wearing socks with my Rockport boat shoes. The thing is, I never wear socks with these shoes, certainly never with shorts. Anyway, I had to remove my shoes to pass through the metal detector leaving me barefoot to walk through. I was so thoroughly disgusted I thought I was going to faint or go into shock – I am not even kidding about this. Worse, as I mentioned, I set off the metal detector making the amount of time I was barefoot on this disgusting floor feel like an eternity. The absolute disgust I was feeling had me feeling woozy, nauseous, and light headed. The disgust did distract me from the embarrassment of my frisking and paddling to detect the source of the alarm. Believe it or not, it was my passport! I mentioned that it seemed odd that my passport could set off the alarm but the dude with the wand said it wasn’t all that unusual as there are microchips inside the passports (I did not know this).
Once cleared, I got my shoes back on as immediately as possible and headed over to gate E87 where I would wait for flight 500 to board.
To be continued…