Royal hobble-about concludes
Long live the drama queen!
30-Nov-05. Shortly before Thanksgiving, my friend Don from Vancouver called up and asked if he could come for a visit. He needed to get away for a bit, he said. Well of course, I said, come on down!
Don was due to arrive at noon on Sunday. Meanwhile, I had been experiencing some troubling symptoms — you really don't want to know — and on Friday night my doctor called to say that my lab tests showed a raging infection for which he would phone two prescriptions to the drug store. I picked up the drugs on the way to dinner and took my first dose when I got home. I immediately curled into a fetal position on the couch, shivering and sweating simultaneously, and that's where I remained on Sunday when Bret brought Don home from the airport.
The bags stowed in the guest room, Bret and Don took off again for a second round of shopping. (Yes, they had had to go shopping even on the way back from the airport.) But Bret came back alone: "You won't believe what Don has done now — he's checked into a hotel! I'm to take him his bags."
How shall I put this plainly, yet kindly? Don is highly imaginative and excitable, and tends to extreme reactions. He had decided, without bothering to confirm with me, that I was clearly at death's door and needed to be left alone to die in peace.
I take a very laissez-faire attitude toward houseguests. I don't entertain guests so much as accommodate them. Here's a key, make yourself at home. Squeegee the tub enclosure after taking a shower. The fact that I was not feeling well would not make a whit of difference.
No, Don just knew I needed my peace and quiet. Fine. Be that way. By Monday night, Don convinced himself that he was having a horrible time and would go back home. He bought another plane ticket for Tuesday afternoon. By Tuesday morning, I was feeling well enough that I went along to fetch Don when he checked out of his hotel. Since he was leaving, I suggested we at least go to lunch together, which we did. And since there were several hours before Don's plane, he asked if we could make another shopping expedition. About the only thing I loathe more than shopping, is tagging along with someone else who is shopping. But Don is my friend. I would martyr myself.
Wouldn't you know? Don bought so many things that they would no longer fit in his suitcases, and he would need extra time to pack! He cancelled the plane ticket he bought the night before and managed to convince Alaska Airlines that he had no idea that the ticket was non-refundable, and certainly wouldn't have bought it if he had known, and anyway he's disabled, and .... They gave him his money back!
Since it seemed that I would now live, Don moved back into the guest room and re-arranged his goods and chattels to fit in his suitcases plus another one borrowed from me.
On Thanksgiving, Don volunteered to carve the turkey and even allowed himself to be photographed doing so. This is in stark contrast to Christmas, 2003, at Don's house in Victoria, when he coquettishly avoided all photographs.
But the drama wasn't over yet! On Sunday morning, we took Don to the airport for his return flight. I dropped Don and Bret at the curb while I went to park the car. I was not going to miss this scene for anything!
Don waiting to check in with his baggage, with Bret playing the role of sherpa
The folks at the Harmony Airline counter were insufferably slow. When I got there after parking the car, Bret and Don were still standing in the same place by the door. Time passed with almost no forward motion. It was taking so long that it was encroaching on my pre-brunch bloody Mary time. Finally Don got his bags checked in, but declined wheelchair assistance; this was a bad mistake. The security line snaked through the airport to baggage claim, and Don would be unable to stand that long. He returned to Harmony to get the wheelchair after all; I went to get the car. Let Harmony cope with Don — I needed my bloody Mary!
The next morning Don called to tell his tale. It took "an hour" and Harmony still had not found a wheelchair. Eventually, two passengers found one and pushed Don through the security line. In return for their good deed, they were "strip searched." Then the plane sat on the tarmac for "another hour" before leaving.
Wait! There's more! After standing up to retrieve something from the overhead compartment, Don sat down again on a sharp object protruding from the seat cushion that "ripped out" the seat of his trousers. Then, arriving in Vancouver, one bag turned up missing and another burst open on the baggage carousel, strewing underwear hither and yon.
Don took down the name of the Vice President for Customer Service from the inflight magazine and called her up to complain how shoddily he, a handicapped person traveling alone, had been treated and how he couldn't get anyone from Harmony to help him! Damned if he didn't end up with two free tickets to Hawaii! Plus a new suitcase to replace the one of his that exploded in the baggage carousel.
It's never dull when Don's around.