I once had the most surreal experience at the Quebec city airport.
I was about to fly home after a national convention of the Canadian Union Of Postal Workers.
We were put up in a very nice hotel in downtown Quebec City. It was so large, it had escalators to try and help keep up with the heavy elevator traffic.
At the end of my stay, I was going down an escalator as I headed for the front lobby to check out. That was when one of the wheels of my suitcase got jammed and broke off.
Without skipping a beat, I picked up the broken wheel, shoved it into my purse and carried on like nothing had happened.
I carried my suitcase from then on and never gave the broken wheel another thought.
After arriving at the airport, I approached airport security and stopped outside the sliding doors to transfer all the loose change, lipsticks and Bobby pins from my pockets into my purse.
I did this to avoid trouble with the metal detectors.
Little did I know, that I was being watched on a security camera because as soon as I walked through these ominous sliding doors, security immediately welcomed me by commandeering my purse.
I was their ‘Little Darling’ from then on.
Yes, I got the full treatment.
With prodding fingers and gunpowder residue detecting swabs, three guards went through every inch, every container, every package in my purse.
Did they find anything of interest?
They found the broken wheel from my suitcase in my purse.
The security agent in charge grabbed it like a prized trophy and held it up for all the other security guards to see. Guards everywhere stopped what they were doing to gaze at the severed wheel from my suitcase.
As the triumphant guard said something in a French that I couldn’t understand, they all commenced to snicker and snort.
What followed was a chorus of a tune that was vaguely familiar, sung in broken English.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t make out the words.
I could see shoulders heaving in muffled laughter as the guards returned to their duties.
I didn’t get the joke.
Seeing my unapproving expression, the lead security guard responded to my demeanour by holding up the broken wheel to me.
“Zis morning ah told zem a joke.”
He stopped and waited for my response.
I said nothing.
“Ke… nee… Rio… Jay,” he said to me.
I still didn’t get it.
Leaning uncomfortably close to me, he looked me in the eye and said:
“Zeh zong: Loo-zee”
Bewildered and confused, I stared right back at him wondering where this was all leading.
Now exasperated, the airport security guard leaned into me even closer.
He struggled to force the following words out of his mouth so that I could at last understand him:
“You – picked – a – fine – time – to – leave – me…
… LOOSE WHEEL!
And with that five security guards behind the desk could no long contain themselves.
After a round of laughter, with their Francophone heavy accents they proceeded to sing the entire refrain of this popular Country Music chorus in unison.
As they sang, I quickly repacked the all the strewn objects: gum, Post-It Notes, paper clips, hair-ties, hairbrush, passport, pens, wallet, Kleenex tissues, mints and other personal items back into my purse.
“Very funny…” I thought to myself as I carried my one wheeled suitcase out of the security area, still ringing with snickers and snorts. There were lingering sideway glances from both the male and female guards.
If someone had told me that I had just entered the ‘Glee Twilight Zone’ I would have believed it.
Destination: Somewhere completely nuts.