Mrs Thomson and I just got back from a wonderful week of scuba diving in an undisclosed location with a bunch of great friends. These weeks are always awesome. The diving, of course, is sublime; the food is plentiful, tasty and weight-gain inducing; the surroundings are almost hypnotically peaceful and the people, well, they’re the best part of it all. It was a smaller gang than last year’s outing to the same location, but as always, quantity and quality bear no intimate relationship with each other. Suffice to say that we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. We did mourn the passing of a friend who’d traveled with us last year and who left this life a few days before the trip. While Mrs Thomson and I were only acquainted with him from that one occasion in 2015, our other companions had known him for a long time and his was indeed a life well lived. Rest in peace, Todd.
On the return trip, I had the occasion to reflect on the adage that says old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance. Whenever possible, I will pay a small premium to get seats with more leg room, usually in the exit row of the aircraft, and this trip was no exception. While we were sitting in the terminal waiting to board, my lovely wife overheard a group of young louts – from our own home town and apparently in the hospitality industry no less – conspiring to invent an imaginary ailment so that they could convince the gate agent to evict us from our exit row seats (for which we’d paid an additional fee). Sadly for those little scammers, they used the exact row number and seats they were targeting, thereby setting off Mrs Thomson’s internal alarms. Their ringleader went off to speak with the gate agent and returned to chortle happily at his fellow little scumbags that it was all going off like a charm and that the losers now occupying the nice seats were about to be surprised, not realizing that the intended victims were sitting no more than two feet away. I had my own chat with the gate agent moments later and that was the end of that scam. We conversed with the louts, who of course lied through their teeth and were otherwise trying hard until the agent put a stop to it. When we got into line to board five minutes or so later, the ringleader was all oiliness and insincerity, no doubt chagrined that his attempt to use Canadian diffidence to get his intended victims to back down, lest there be a scandal, failed to work.
We overheard the part of town in which the ringleader’s family apparently runs a few restaurants and I so look forward to renewing our acquaintance in a place where his livelihood lies, so that I can give him a smile and remind him of where we met and under what circumstances. Mess with me, will you? Karma has a way of repaying people like that, but where are we going as a society when young people who evidently aren’t hurting for money, based on the place we were, felt it appropriate to act this way? No doubt, we end up in the kind where a fictional character like Zack Decker needs to kick butt and take names. Speaking of him, now that I’ve had my Spring break, so to speak, and am as of today officially retired from my day job, all connections to my former employer severed, I’ll be plunging into the first re-write the moment we’ve recovered the dog from the boarding kennel, topped up the larder and unpacked the bags later today.
Since I know my traveling companions will eventually read this: thanks for a great week. We had a hoot and a half and you let me get my week of acting like an extrovert so I can live the other fifty-one as a contented introvert. Let’s do this again, same time, same place, in 2017.