I had an early departure from Toronto yesterday morning for my flights to San Diego. Orbitz couldn’t find me any direct routes, so I had to change at Minneapolis. On both flights I had booked window seats, but arrived to find my seats occupied by other people, and so having to sit in the aisle—I lacked the stomach for a fight. This was disappointing, as I saw very little of the scenery. The woman on the first flight was quite nice, but opened a newspaper as soon as we took off, which meant that she didn’t care about the view, but just wanted my seat. And naturally, I couldn’t see anything through the newspaper, except lots of trees and a river that I take to be the Missouri as we came in to land at Minneapolis. On the flight to San Diego, I was even further from the window, while the lad who took my seat jammed his face into the window and called out to his mother ‘gee, what a great view of the Grand Canyon; even better than last time’ and other statements guaranteed to make me crosser. No, you’re right; basically I’m a coward. And actually, at least he was enjoying the view, and I suppose young people have a natural right to window seats.
The change at Minneapolis was a narrow one; 50 minutes, which meant that I had just enough time to get on to the next plane, but none to inspect the substantial and fascinating shopping mall in the airport. In my haste, I left both my books on the Air Canada plane, in the seat pocket. Fortunately I had said my office while waiting for the flight in Toronto Airport, so my breviary was safely stowed in my hand luggage. But Travels with Charlie, by John Steinbeck (a book I loved since school, and, I thought particularly appropriate for a first visit to the US) and How to Be a Canadian by two brothers whose names I have forgotten, which I bought at Toronto Airport, are lost forever. And my suitcase did not make the second flight either, as both Fr Paul and Fr Marco of Toronto had warned me. Fortunately I was armed with some spare clothes in my hand-luggage and, as I remarked to John, my host, at least this way I was spared the nuisance of having to drag my luggage around San Diego; I got it delivered to the door free of charge!