Monday December 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: holiday travel.

Always such a pain, it seems. Every year it feels like at least one person I know gets utterly screwed by this busiest time of the year for travel.

This year? Becky and Natalie. Their plane didn't come in last night due to fog. So the airline, brilliantly, sent another plane this morning to collect the passengers scheduled to leave early this morning... except it was smaller than the original, fully booked aircraft. Next available flight for those who couldn't board this one (which included Becky and Natalie, naturally)? December 24th.

So Becky decided to drive.

They got all the way from Dawson Creek to Merritt today, which leaves them about three more hours on the road before they get here tomorrow. At which point I imagine she will sleep for the rest of the day while Natalie runs around in circles with Max.

Because, you know, kids.


The roads are packed,
Airports overflowing -
How is anyone supposed
To get where they're going?

Is this supposed to be a bus,
Or a giant can of sardines?
Elbows in my ribs help me
Forget what this season means.

I think next year
I'll get comfy, chant an om
(Or five hundred), and simply
Refuse to leave my home.


Greg said...

Oh dear, that doesn't sound like the best holiday travel at all. I hope they're getting both a refund and compensation for that! I suppose the airline had no other planes available at a convenient location, but even so.... Of course, the solution is obvious. Move Christmas to the middle of summer, and then you won't have the bad weather affecting the holidays!
I think your poem gathers up and sums it all up very nicely; I hope you get to show it to Becky and see if she agrees with the sentiment of it! The second verse in particular feels quite inspired, and I love the mental image that those sardines conjure up.

Holiday travel
A bus had broken down on the bridge, slewed on the ice across the road, and ended up blocking three of the four lanes of traffic. The remaining lane was being used alternately by drivers inching past the bus, but the proximity to Christmas, and the fact that this bridge was the only one across the river for three miles in either direction, meant that tempers were short and horns were blaring. Three traffic policemen, wearing the weary look of those with terminal headaches, were attempting to keep order, but the traffic was queued up back for a mile on each side of the bridge, and the queues were getting steadily longer. The fire-engines, needed to cut the bus open and free the passengers on it, were caught in the traffic as well.
The gridlock was so bad that many people had turned off their car engines and were stood outside their cars, watching what going on ahead of them.
"Look Daddy, snow!" said Rea, pointing upwards. Around her many people, including her father, looked up and saw the delicate white flakes twirling and twinkling in the streetlights' glow. The collective groan that went up would have intimidated even Marley's ghost. "But I like snow," she persisted.
"You might," said her father, shifting the Hamley's bag from one aching arm to the other, "but it's going to make it even harder to get the bridge open now."
"Can't we walk?"
For a moment her father looked furious, and then a strange calm seemed to come over him, and he smiled. People nearby edged away.
"I had a boss once," he said slowly, sounding thoughtful. "His name was Henri, he really hated it when I called him Henry, or when I'd clap him on the shoulders. He broke both my legs once, just because he liked the sound the snapping bone made. But I did learn a little something from him here and there."
Rea looked up at him, puzzled. "Daddy?" she said.

Five minutes later Rea and her daddy were both sitting on the shoulders of morbidly obese women and geeing them onwards across the bridge. Rea was laughing delightedly at this turn of events, though her father's laughter seemed a little more hysterical.

Marc said...

Greg - I imagine they'll try to make it up to her somehow. Once she's calmed down enough to inquire :P

Ah, I did enjoy the references to Henri in this one. And it's nice to see that former employees do not escape his sphere of influence unscathed!