After a year of anticipation, instigated mostly by Facebook, I walked away from my high school reunion in Halifax with mixed feelings. For many, time has done them well but for others, middle age has not been kind. For several they sadly passed on.
I did reminisce with many and Captain Doug got teary eyed on a regular basis. It didn't help several drinks were imbibed. One fellow, suffering from stage four cancer and unable to talk, penciled a few notes to me. He remembered he and I were contenders for best male student in grade six and I beat him out. Funny what one remembers. I gave him a big hug because I knew it would be the last time I see him.
Teachers showed up as well. Even the teacher who DJ'd a dance I attended 31 years ago and who coined me "Disco Doug." Well 31 years later old Disco Doug took to the dance floor. Funny, both times I tended to be the only one dancing. I wish he ran the music because much of the night's repertoire didn't fit the 70s theme.
The night evaporated quickly with me and others closing the place but not before I met as many people I could. Another reason for the mixed feelings, many people who said were coming or who I wanted to see (especially many of the girls I had crushes on) did not show.
So what does this have to do about aviation?
Well, getting to Halifax required I use the jumpseat on an oversold Airbus 320. In fact, the agent offered $200 and an upgrade on the next flight. Few took her up on the offer.
Getting back to Toronto with my family proved more interesting. The 2:30 flight tends to be a B767 inbound from LHR (London,England) and it tends to run late. This day was no exception. After a 30 minute delay the flight is like most others. The Captain made a P.A on our ETA and mentioned "showers" at Toronto Pearson. I told the couple next to me, that's code for "thunderstorms." We are not suppose to use the words...thunderstorms (coded as showers or heavy showers), fog (say mist), chop (people don't know it means turbulence), ATC (passengers do not know it means Air Traffic Control). But much of it is common sense.
My meteorological senses tingled so I turn on the moving may display. (That's one place where Air Canada kicks butt, in the free entertainment system. Well actually you do have to buy a headset but only once). Sure enough we go into a hold. I guess it to be the Simcoe VOR with 20 nautical mile legs. Another announcement. This time he references a 'thunderstorm' and we may be heading to Ottawa. I tell the couple, this is when things go off the rails. Most other flights will be heading to their alternates so Ottawa will be inundated with extra aircraft. Sure enough we get to Ottawa only to find there is only one fueler on call. Heck it's a Sunday. We wait at the deice center, forget about getting a gate.
We finally fuel and carry on back to Toronto only confirming I'll never commute again.