Sporting an attention grabbing green blazer and flag in hand, I am ready to pick up forty or so passengers arriving at Halifax airport for their ten day tour of the Maritimes. As a tour guide, it is never possible to predict what exactly is going to happen on tour. The people, the weather, the driver, the circumstances are unique every time. All I can do is prepare, organize and keep an open mind in order to eliminate all preventable disasters. So it does not bode well when something goes wrong right from the start.
“Maam, Maam!” cries a woman in three inch heels scrambling towards me from the luggage carousel. Even without her yelling she would stand out. Her thick red hair, blown dry and hair sprayed into place, elaborate shawl wrapped around her dainty shoulders and sparkling rock on her finger the size of a ping pong ball call out for everyone to look her way. I immediately guess she is from the South. This is quickly confirmed as she drawls “Maam, please, I need some haalp!”
“What’s wrong?” I calmly question.
“My bags didn’t come. They told me they were transferred to the wrong plane. Instead of Halifax, they went to Vagina!”
I stare blankly at her. Did she really just say Vagina? And not just say it, but drawl it? Vagiiinah.
“Vagina, my bags went to Vagina! Do you know how long it will take before they get to me?”
“Ummm… are you sure they went to…” But I can not say it. She could be my grandmother and there are certain things you do not say to your grandmother. Vagina, along with penis, masturbate, and great grandchildren (when there are none) top that list.
“Yes I’m sure!” she exclaims. “They told me at the desk over there. I didn’t say anything to them but what an odd name for a city! Have you ever been to” she lowers her voice, “Vagiiinah?”
Clueing in, I laugh outright and tell her, “No, no I have not. Nor have I been to Regina where I suspect your bags have really gone!”
“Regina?” she implores. “Not Vagina? Oh thank goodness!”
With that settled, we board the bus, she takes her seat and we embark on the twenty minute bus ride to our hotel. In what I can only describe as my worst nightmare, forty senior citizens, 40 grammas and grampas, share the vagina story together over, and over and over again. First in hushed whispers but by the time we roll into the lobby entrance, in yells and uproarious laughter.
Open-mind, I remind myself as I add a luggage-gone-down-under joke into the tours commentary for tomorrow.