It’s the ultimate irony in driving.
You hope for fast-moving traffic and wide-open spaces on the QEW. You pray for green lights all the way down Erin Mills Parkway.
Then you get to the tangle of airport highways that weave around and swoop in to the kiss’n’ride of the Terminal and then out and back in again. And there’s a man in uniform who gets upset with you if you try to stop in order to pick up your passenger. So we all drive as slowly as we can possibly get away with. We want to be slow. It reduces the numbers of loops we have to do around the network of out and back highways. And if your passenger isn’t there, you drive away slowly. Very slowly so your loop will take longer and the chances that your passenger will be there waiting for you next time are increased. And there is one stop light on the mini-highway of the out-and-back airport loop. As I approach it, I pray for it to be red. That is when I realize I’m in a whole different dimension.
I tell myself that this is calming. “I’m not waiting”, I say, “I’m taking an easy and leisurely drive around a closed-circuit race course with a maximum speed of 30.” “It’s fun,” I tell myself, “Maybe I will time my loops and see how long I can make them.”
I drive around and around. I start to memorize the route requiring the fewest lane-changes. I count the cars which are illegally parked on the side of the ramps with their hazard lights on, waiting, instead of driving the loop repeatedly like me. In my mind, I visualize neatly removing their driver side doors with my front bumper should they choose to open them at the wrong (or right) moment. “I am zen,” I say, “I am peace.”
I start to wonder why this has became the plan. I’ve done the airport loop routine at least a half dozen times in the past year. It’s Mark and my plan each and every time he travels without me. I check the web site for the scheduled arrival time of the flight and I leave about five minutes before the plane should land. I am almost inevitably a half hour early every time. I blame this on the one miserable March Break when it was unseasonably cold and Mark was sick and I arrived what seemed to be an eternity after he had set himself out at the waiting dock in a very thin jacket. So now I err on the early side and I drive the loop over and over again. And somehow, each time he sets out on a journey, I carelessly agree to this insane arrangement.
Around and around. I count the loops. Three….Four…. Five…..or is THIS five? Perhaps I was thinking the NEXT one would be five, which would make this one five….but usually I start to think the next number after a drive-by….hmmmm. Six?
My New Year’s Resolution for 2007:
Will be less cheap.
Will pay for short-term parking at the airport.