A True Air Travel Story

This is a small part of the feast that awaited me upon arrival in Montreal

An elderly gentleman was traveling to Montreal through Houston, Texas. When his plane arrived in Houston, he grabbed his carry-on suitcase (or what to him looked like his suitcase) and rushed to make a connecting flight. The airport in Houston is big and hard to navigate, so the elderly gentleman was happy to reach his next airplane on time. He boarded the plane and started placing his suitcase in the overhead bin. A flight attendant approached him to help him with the suitcase and saw that it had a huge label saying “Crew” on it.

“I’m sorry, sir,” she said. “Are you a member of the crew?”

“No, of course not,” the elderly gentleman responded.

“Then how come you have a suitcase that says “Crew” on it?”

“Oh my goodness!” the gentleman exclaimed. “I must have grabbed it by mistake, instead of my own. It looks just like my suitcase, and my eye-sight is not as good as it used to be. What shall I do now? My suitcase contains gifts for my grandchildren and my wife’s things. She will now divorce me!”

“This suitcase looks very familiar,” the flight attendant said. “Hey, Lindsay, some here! Isn’t this your suitcase?”

The second flight attendant approached and immediately recognized her suitcase. “Oh, I’m so happy you haven’t disappeared with it,” she told the elderly passenger. “I will not be getting home until Friday, and my underwear is in this suitcase. What would I do without my underwear?”

“But wait,” the passenger said. “I’m glad you have your suitcase, but where is mine?”

“It seems that both your flights are on this very plane,” the flight attendant said. “So I guess your suitcase must be right here.”

Withing 30 seconds the elderly gentleman was reunited with his suitcase. I guess both he and the flight attendant were very lucky that he chanced to be flying twice in a row on the same plane.

I was happy that these nice people found their luggage but they kept discussing this lucky eventuality during the entire flight from Houston to Montreal and prevented me from taking a nap.

Now I’m finally in Montreal, though. Since readers mentioned that they enjoy photos of food, I promise to take pictures of every meal I have and post them here. Prepare to learn everything you ever wanted and more about food in Montreal and Ottawa.

Dating Advice, Part I

People are clamoring for more posts containing dating advice, so I’m happy to oblige. I hope it will be enough to say once at the beginning of this series that I believe that there is nothing whatsoever wrong about being single and people who are single by choice don’t need a relationship to make them happy and complete. This series is not aimed at convincing anybody to date. Its only goal is to share some insights into dating with those who already want (of their own free will and with no prodding on my part) to find a partner. I sincerely hope that this disclaimer will be sufficient.

There are lucky people who manage to find a suitable partner at the very beginning of their dating process. For many of us, though, it takes much longer. Often, people spend years on the dating market, actively searching for a partner but not managing to find one. As a friend of mine used to say whenever she would come back from yet another unsuccessful first date, “And here goes my 125,999 failed attempt at dating.”

Nobody likes to feel like a failure, especially not on a regular basis. After a certain number of unsuccessful dates, people become emotionally and psychologically drained and feel like giving up altogether. I felt the desire to abandon the search many times. Why go out on what will probably turn out to be yet another huge waste of time when I can just stay at home happily with my books and my computer?

If it seems like the dating period is likely to be protracted, we need a mechanism that will compensate for feelings of failure, disappointment and boredom that it’s likely to generate. So this is tip number one: develop a secondary goal that your dating will help you reach. Here are a few examples:

1. If you are a blogger, you can use each new date as material for new posts. So what if you haven’t been able to find a suitable partner this time, and the last time, and the time before that? You now have material for a kick-ass series of new posts about your dating experiences.

2. If you are trying to improve your health or lose weight, why not walk to and from each new date? A fresh dating failure will feel less disappointing when you consider that you are doing something good for your health in the meanwhile.

3. If you are a foodie or a coffee fanatic, you can use the dates to explore every single restaurant and coffee-shop in the area. A date might now end in a desire to set up a second meeting with the same person but it can generate a really great review of a new place you visited.

4. If you don’t have great social skills, dating can offer a great free training in improving them. I know somebody who used dating to prepare for job interviews. Dating a lot allowed him to get used to the intrusive questioning, the high-stress environment, the need to talk to complete strangers on a regular basis, etc. Dating also provides a wealth of funny stories that the socially awkward folks can share at parties and social events instead of standing silently in the corner, grasping for topics of conversation.

5. Another acquaintance, an aspiring stand-up comedian, used dates to perfect his comedy routines by trying them out on new people.

Transforming dating into an activity that is not solely about finding a partner helps relieve the stress and get rid of feelings of disappointment and frustration, at least to a degree.

Why I Hate Ethics Training

Not only does it offer ridiculous stories about “John, a graduate student, and Fatima, his best friend who is also the Dean.”

Not only does it suggest that everybody needs to spy on their co-workers and report them whenever they leave 30 minutes early or check their Facebook page on their office computer.

Not only does it tell me that if somebody related to the University bequeaths their sailboat to me, it’s ethical to accept but if somebody offers me a free meal costing $80 at a fair it isn’t.

Not only does it humiliate me by informing me at length that accepting bribes from students is not a good idea.

Not only does it rob me of 40 minutes out of a very busy day.

It also dares to condescend to me by telling me “Now is a good time to take a break and stretch out.” Can I at least be left in peace to stretch out or not whenever I feel like, not whenever some bored bureaucrat tells me to?