The Penpal, TD and I had survived our first flight, although TD and I had been on the receiving end of purple barf and needed a change of clothes.
We began our long walk from the domestic terminal to the international. We had brought a folding stroller for just such an occasion, but TD was so excited by the conveyor belt escalators that he wanted to walk the entire way. He refused to wear his backpack, so The Penpal carried it, along with the travel bag, her backpack, the stroller, and a purple stained giraffe toy which we stealthily disposed of at the first opportunity. I was wearing my backpack and carrying the car seat over my left shoulder while holding on to TD with my right hand and thanking myself for getting a gym membership.
We found our gate, and The Penpal took TD off to change his clothes. When they returned, I went to change my clothes. I was disappointed to find that I had packed myself a new T-shirt, socks, underwear, but instead of jeans I had brought my workout shorts. These are the kind of shorts that look fine at the gym or a pick up basketball game, but look fairly stupid in almost any other situation.
After swallowing my pride and putting on my shorts, I decided to rinse as much of the barf out of my jeans as possible in the bathroom sink. My plan was to clean them up, dry them, and put them on right before we boarded our flight to Tokyo. After giving them a very thorough washing, I discovered that the bathroom I was in did not have any hot air dryers, it only had a towel dispenser.
Thinking that this must be some mistake, I dried my jeans as well as I could and carried them to all of the other bathrooms in the international departure area. There was not a single hot air dryer.
Other than the unhelpful bathrooms, the international departure lounge was also home to several stores which sold the usual last minute souvenirs, snacks, and duty free goods. Surely one of these stores must sell pants, sweatpants, or at least a less dorky pair of shorts.
I understand that the souvenir T-shirt is ubiquitous, but I found it hard to believe that nobody had thought to sell souvenir pants of some kind. In addition to T-shirts, I could have bought jackets, hoodies, hats, or designer bags. None of these helped my situation.
After searching every store carefully, I decided to try my last option; asking for help. I waited in line at the Air Canada customer service desk. When it was my turn I approached the CSR who looked like she had just received an entire shift of abuse from tired, stressed out passengers. I’m going to call her Agnes. I mustered up my friendliest smile and told Agnes that I had a question somewhat related to my recent Air Canada flight.
“My son barfed all over me on my last flight. Do you know if there is a bathroom around here with a hot air dryer, or alternatively a store that sells pants?”
Agnes had not been expecting this. When she realized that I was asking a serious question, she did her best to think, then tapped at her computer before realizing that there was going to be no information about pants or dryers to be found. Agnes gave me a sympathetic look and said “I’m sorry, I really was not prepared for this question!”
Having tried everything, I resigned myself to wearing dorky workout shorts on our 12 hour flight to Tokyo. It was still an improvement over damp, slightly smelly jeans.
To the entrepreneurs out there I offer these two can’t miss business ideas: souvenir pants and departure lounge laundry services. I will accept royalty payments in beer.