A love letter

Dear WestJet,

It isn’t that I dislike you. We’re good. You’ve never been anything but hospitable and you get me from Point A to Point B without issue.

OK, sometimes there’s a little too much turbulence but it’s like ?Lewis Black? says: We’re sitting in a chair in the sky and that’s amazing.

But, oh, how I hate to fly.

I didn’t get on a plane for the first time until I was in my 20s. My family, you see, was not into travelling. Oh, the young’uns had dreams to get the heck out of Antigonish but we really didn’t know what lay beyond Halifax.

I recall the arduous trips visits to Halifax to spend a couple of hours with Papa, my father’s father, at the Victoria General. I would be relegated to the back seat where – inevitably – I would toss my cookies from the motion sickness.

Why we never figured out I had to sit in the front, I don’t know.

My first flight was not a comforting inaugural experience. It was 1992 and Canada’s 125th birthday. The airlines put on a fantastic sale: fly anywhere within Canada for 125 bucks. My birthday present then was a round-trip ticket … from Gander, N.L., to Halifax.

I boarded the Dash 8. With full disclosure, I was young and living in Newfoundland. I was probably hung-right-over.

The turbulence was out of control. Yeah, you try flying over the Gulf in a little tin can with the shakes.

I was probably white-knuckling the arm rests.

(I write this now as we hit a little patch of turbulence and the captain has turned the seatbelt sign on. Ugh.)

I disembarked the plane and my brother laughed at me. I was probably a lovely shade of green.

That was almost 20 years ago. I’ve gotten better at flying. This turbulence isn’t bothering me at all. Nope, not even a little bit. Not at all.

Yeah, I’m lying a little bit.

More than anything, it’s my inability to escape. I’m trapped. There’s nowhere to go. It’s worse when I have a stranger next to me, sometimes nodding his sleepy head in the direction of my shoulder. Sometimes trying to steal my armrest space with her pudgy elbow. Sometimes trying to make small talk to pass the time.

Headphones, please!

While I tend to maintain my rosy fleshy colour these days, I much prefer to drive. I love the freedom of stopping at the greasy diner to test the apple pie, peeing in a shady gas station and breathing the crisp, clean air of the outdoors.

It far surpasses the claustrophia I endure on this great big Greyhound bus in the sky. You know the one with barely enough room to lift your elbows in the can.

Don’t take that personally. You’re just a big ole mode of public transit in the sky … do NOT get me started on the Ctrain. Gah!

But since we live on this big beautiful continent of North America and the urban centres of our gorgeous Canada are geographically distant, I have no choice but to put myself at your mercy.

Especially now that I’ll be travelling to Toronto once a month for business.

So until I’m important enough like John Madden to demand my own bus, until we can teleport ourselves cell by cell to distant reaches, until we build a super highway for cars only (no trucks and NO CAMPERS), I’m kind of stuck with you.

At least I’ve figured out which flight is least populated and which seat to reserve on my day-before check-in.

We’ll be OK, you and me, WestJet. So long as you don’t shake things up too badly.

1 comment

  1. There are more than a few things I don’t like about flying. It’s definitely cramped, and I don’t like being stuck with a bunch of people I don’t know on any occasion. There is also those children that I always end up sitting next to, in front of, or behind, that love to whine, cry, or kick my seat. Seriously, shut your child up!

    I, also, get motion sick very easily though. I have a habit of getting on planes that encounter a lot of turbulence which doesn’t help either. I often wonder if it would help if I were the one in control, similar to driving. I like to see where I’m going, and I like to know when we’re going to suddenly veer one way or another. Not that they can really tell you you’re about to drop a few hundred feet due to turbulence, but I’m sure any amount of control might help.

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