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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Very important words: "Plantago ovata"

Dear Mom,

Sorry I didn't have a chance to call you before I left. I was in a bit of a lather packing. Putting together my cornucopia of stomach and headache medications was quite time consuming.

I´ve been looking forward to this trip for weeks, but waiting in the airport I was a nervous wreck. What if I got my days mixed up and I missed my flight? I could hear the imaginary loudspeaker in my head announcing, "Paging passenger Patricia Murphy. This is your last chance to board Flight 826 for Frankfurt. You're never going to live this down."

Actually, that would be a great opening scene for a murder mystery. The passenger missed her flight because she shat herself dead in the bathroom after eating a ham and cheese sandwich that contained poisoned brie. A very complicated ham sandwich indeed.

A lot of things trigger my"trick" stomach, as you know. And I worried (further worsening my absominal distress), that I'd be stuck in the middle seat of the middle row just as my bowels turned to water.

It's funny that I worry so much about my stomach and not in-flight mechanical issues. Which brings me to my next story.

Good news, I got an aisle seat in the middle row and it was looking for a whie there that the middle seat in our row of three would be unoccupied. So, I started having fantasies that I'd be able to throw my various and sundry things into that space for storage.

Alas, a harried young man arrived just before the safety announcemnts started.

As we taxied down the runway, he said he was held up by security. "They searched everything!" he said.

Poor guy. Non-caucasion and you get targeted, I thought. But then, so do some other elements. My mother-in-law always gets the special treatment coming back from Mexico, I told him, commiserating. It seems that single women "of a certain age" travelling to Latin America are on the drug mule profile.

He smiled. "Well, another reason is that I´m going home for a visit to Jeddah. That's in Saudi Arabia."

Oh yes, well...

"What are you doing in Ottawa?"

"I´m studying electrical engineering," he said. After that, he disappeared to the bathroom for a very long time.

I sat there thinking.

When he returned we spoke some more. He was very charming and outgoing and even though I try to be open minded about things, I made a point of mentioning my daughters and my husband as often as possible.

But, after dinner, I had other worries.

I had three bites of the salad after our onflight meal and then realized it contained beans and corn. Very bad. Then I broke out into a sweat. Even after spending a king's ransom at Shoppers'Drug Mart, I forgot the Immodium and the Metamucil.

But, at the farmacia in Palma de Mallorca airport, the pharmacist looked up Metamucil in her book and smilingly produced a box of Plantago ovata. All is good.

Your loving daughter,

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