Phone off hook (06.21/22, 173/174)

Someone abandoned a coffee cup and left the phone off the hook at the gate at Pearson when I left for England last week.


Seriously, I didn’t even know there WERE pay phones anymore.

Years ago, I had a lover who had a toddler who liked to pick up the phone and wait for the signal to go beepbeepbeepbeep and to get the voice that said Please Hang Up and Try Your Call Again. Once when we passed a pay phone, she said “I just want to stop and see how Please Hang Up is doing.”

I think she’s a lawyer now.

Should have taken the unhooked phone as a sign that it would be a tedious journey. I have been trying to make my constant travel as smooth as possible, by consolidating all my air travel to Air Canada and Star Alliance and hoping that Elite status (lounges + more helpful service and the occasional, treasured upgrade) will ease my way. But then British Airways bought the regional carrier British Midlands, which means there is no Star Alliance route for me to get from Heathrow to Manchester, which means when things go wrong I suddenly shift from Treasured Customer to Annoying Trash. This time, I tried to ease that because of a ridiculously tight connection by getting AC to shift me to Lufthansa and a Frankfort/Manchester connection. But all my upgrade possibilities and status disappeared, and then Pearson was on Red Alert because of lightning storms and we left two hours early, after being herded onto a sweltering plane that made me feel sick.

A feeling that wasn’t alleviated by the arrival of my seat mate, who was metabolizing cigarettes and alcohol through his sweaty pores, and who ordered glasses of red wine with shots of vodka in them. And then stashed them all over.

I wanted to cover him up with this pestilential blankie.

(Airplane blankies always look to me like they come from some historical wartime and are probably swarming with fleas or smallpox).

Because the plane was late, and because of Germanic rule following as I tried to run through the Frankfort airport and just catch my plane, I ended up missing my flight and spending 7 unnecessary hours in the airport.

I had lounge access, which was a nice thing, and I spent a good chunk of the time watching the BBC drama about Salt of the Earth barrister Martha Costello and working to finish my Ishbel shawl and trying to imagine when my skein of yarn would run out.


I ended up adding an inch wide border of dark purple at the end. The lounge was comfy enough, but it was all really like the doughnuts, that looked so fancy but were ridiculously tasteless, and I arrived weary and cranky.

I won’t do that route again. Please Hang Up and Try Your Call Again.


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