Jewish World Review August 13, 2002 / 5 Elul, 5762
Computers, airplanes and Canada don't mix
WARNING: Do not read this column if you are squeamish about the topics of computers, airplanes and -- you might want to cover your children's eyes at this point -- Canada.
Let me begin by saying that I am not, personally, afraid of computers. I have one in my house and it is generally well behaved as long as I remember to throw a live goat into its room once a week. Sure, it gets moody sometimes and makes the lights flicker, the phones glow and the TV automatically switch to "Battlebots" every Saturday morning, but by and large it's a polite, well-mannered machine.
Of course, serious problems can arise if I try to actually do something with my computer, such as write a column, read my e-mail or, as was the unfortunate case with Emma Nunn and Raoul Sebastian, order airline tickets.
Nunn and Sebastian, who are British and both 19 years old, went online in an attempt to book a flight to Sydney, Australia. They did something wrong -- I'm guessing they tried sacrificing a chicken instead of a goat -- and that's when their problems began.
I'm thinking that most people would have become suspicious when they saw that they were boarding an Air Canada jet for their flight to Australia. But Air Canada does make flights from Britain to Australia, so let's give Nunn and Sebastian the benefit of the doubt. Plus, as I mentioned before, they're 19.
However, when their plane landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is technically part of Canada, I think most people would have said to themselves, "Wow! These Australians sure are pale!"
Actually, the couple was a little perplexed. "I thought, 'oh my gosh, we're in Canada!' " Nunn told the BBC, clearly not understanding the magnitude of her predicament.
"It was really confusing," said Sebastian. "We thought we were going to wait here and a big plane was going to turn up and take us to Australia. It didn't quite happen that way."
Instead, the couple was told to board a 25-seat plane bound for the northeast Canada town of Sydney, population 26,083.
Unlike most stories involving airplanes and computer errors, this one has a happy ending. Nunn and Sebastian had a swell time in Sydney, Nova Scotia. They feasted on the excellent local seafood and managed to avoid being gored by a moose or mauled by a polar bear, things that can ruin the best of vacations.
So there are several morals to this story:
1) Don't attempt to use your computer for anything other than a paperweight or boat anchor unless it has been recently fed.
2) If everyone else in the cabin of your plane is wearing a stocking cap and every other word out of their mouths is "eh," chances are you are not going anyplace warm.
3) When in Sydney, Nova Scotia, be sure to try the Digby scallops at Joe's Warehouse. They are to die for.
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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune