And already the whirlwind visit is over. We had a meal at Rick and Ann's, a barbecue with the Pirate family, a walk in Point Isabel, many walks in the neighbourhood, Thai takeout the other night, a spontaneous look at O Brother Where Art Thou, pizza from Zachary's last night, and all the baby ogling that anybody could want.
I just got back from seeing my parents off to the airport, again filling the sensitive post of navigator, delicately balanced between my mother’s seething paranoia in the backseat and my father’s muted passive aggressiveness behind the wheel. It was actually fairly uneventful, freeway signage being an advanced art these days. The funniest part was somewhere after we got on to 101 South and I had my dad in what became the leftmost lane because I wasn’t sure which way thing shook down after the interchange. I was staring at signs not really paying attention as my mom said every few seconds, “It’s 50 here, Don.” “Donald, it’s 50!” I was jolted to wakefulness by the honking. I didn’t realise it was directed at us until an SUV sped past on the right, the driver apparently yelling something at us. I looked around and thought, “Oh, yeah, this is supposed to be the fast lane.” Apparently, traffic had been passing us on the right for a while and I hadn’t been noticing. Oy. I was in a car full of old people driving slow in the fast lane. I told my dad to shift over to the centre lane as soon as possible, and all was right in the world again. Except he was still going too fast for my mom’s taste. She’s not too keen on this “keeping up with the flow of traffic” concept.
Shortly after, cryptically, she said, “They drive just like in the car commercials here.” Kewpie doll to the best explanation of what she might have meant by that.
The rental car drop off was as mysteriously casual as the pickup had been. Drive in, park, quick chat with the attendant, then off you go. I wrangled us a luggage cart and led the way to the AirTrain. This was probably the happiest part of the journey back for my mom. We boarded the rear of the train, but because it was the end of the line, this became the front of the train as we set out. The AirTrains are like great big toy trains – they’re guided remotely by computer, so there’s no operator’s car to block the view at the front of the train. We were seated by the big front window and could watch the tracks rolling on ahead of us as we went round the long curve of the airport complex. At one point there was a curve with nothing on the right side but a shear drop, so my mother blanched and looked away then. But other than that it was happy.
I saw them off at the start of the security maze, then went up stairs to track their progress to the metal detectors. By the time I got to the upper level, though, I had lost them. It’s amazing how fast those lines move, and it’s not always obvious where they’re going. I assume they got in somehow, but the last I saw of them was heading into the cordons pulling a luggage cart behind. If found, please return to Edson, AB.