Friday, September 2, 2011

Random Act of...Reading: The Saga Continues

(Please visit my previous story 'Random Act of...Reading' dated August 26, 2011 for understanding of this saga...)
I watched the short haul airliner load with passengers and luggage on the tarmac. Once loaded and checked, the doors of the 80-seat aircraft were sealed shut; the turboprops firing up at the pilot’s command. As the pilot continued his pre-flight check, the ailerons flicked up and down as if saying ‘bye bye,’ the rudder moving left and right like a fish tail.

Sure, Victoria International Airport (Airport Designator: YYJ) isn’t known for massive wide body airliners like 747s heading to Pakistan or Iceland. But many flights do depart to the United States, stopping at Vancouver International Airport (Airport Designator: YVR), connecting passengers to other flights travelling afar.

My French Fries were disappearing fast as I watched the flight departure in fascination, my imagination of destinations unknown in overdrive.

Because I knew it had to be in there.

The book.

I dipped a French Fry in (more) salt and ketchup as another aircraft taxied out to the runway. This adventure was well worth the dollar in parking (for two whole hours, no less), and the 2.99 I spent on fries; just to see my experiment take-off to who-knows-where.

If you read my last adventure, ‘Random Act of….Reading’ (Friday, August 26), finding a book being passed from one reader to another like a message in a bottle had me a little obsessive, to say the least.

So in order to get the book out of my hands, quieting my obsession, and have a proper second send-off, I plotted, planned, and contrived the best place to leave the book.

The airport.

As it was summer, travellers were bustling to and fro. But where to leave it, exactly? Because the book was women’s fiction, I figured the best place was the women’s washroom. Not that leaving it in the washroom was testament to the quality of the book, but leaving it in the waiting area at the arrivals was too risky. I could just see some kind person running after me, waving the book in the air “Oh, miss! Oh miss! You forgot your book!” And I would have to kindly accept it back, smile and say thank you. I couldn’t very well explain my whole planned experiment, could I? No.

I would just look silly.

So into the washroom I went, looking left and right for any observers/mind readers, and found the perfect stall. I placed the book, standing up as if on display, on top of the toilet paper dispenser. Satisfied with my mission, I left and made to wash my hands, just in case anyone was watching. I had to authenticate my need to visit the washroom, after all. Smug and quite proud of my accomplishment, I scrutinized my reflection in the mirror. Had I changed since accomplishing this ground-breaking feat? Despite the bags under my eyes, the dry, frizzy hair and the pimple on my chin, those Bond Girls have nothin’ on me.

So I celebrated with sodium-enriched French Fries, and eyed each person who came out of the washroom, making their way through security to the departure gate. Who had the book, and where was it headed to? And would they pass it on as I had inscribed in the book? I saw no one carrying the book, but was SURE at least ONE person had the great find stashed in her bag.

French Fries gone, the few planes on the tarmac now departed, the vortices curling and snapping in their wake, it was time to go. Besides, security was eyeing me, and I hadn’t brought my toothbrush for my usual overnight prison stay.

Curiosity got the better of me, though, and I simply had to go back to see if it was gone.

Entering the washroom, I noticed it smelled....fresher. Cleaner. Ah well, I shrugged the observation aside, this is a very clean airport. I likely didn’t notice the cleanliness during my initial visit, so focused I was on my mission.

I went to the stall.

The book was gone!

But before elation could get the better of me, I realized one thing.

The toilet seat was up, blue cleaner was still in the bowl, and the tiny scrap of paper earlier seen on the ground, was gone.


I went from stall to stall. All were the same. Lids up, cleaner within; clean as a whistle.

The cleaning attendants must have gone in while I was inhaling – sorry, DELICATELY dining on – my fries, and did their job.

Although I am not opposed to clean washrooms, and I commend the staff for doing their job, the book was supposed to be going on a plane to somewhere exotic. I could only hope the attendant didn’t throw it out, or leave it in the lost and found where it would sit forever. Mission failed, I made my way to the car, slumped over and disappointed.

As I drove away, the planes taking off without my book, shame washed over me like jet engine exhaust. This experiment wasn’t about me. The whole point of this mission was to get a book into the hands of another reader; to share the love of a good book, as the original book-inscriber had likely intended. Someone WOULD read it. It didn’t matter if they lived right across the street from me, or on the other side of the world. Even though my intent was to see a book travel the world, hoping readers would inscribe in the book, and possibly email me (again, see previous tale as mentioned above), I had forgotten the whole point - to share the joy of reading. So really....mission accomplished.

The planes continued leaving, I still kept wondering, and the French Fries were giving me indigestion. BUT, I decided to head back in a day or so and check-out the airport's lost and found, anyways – just in case.

If not, at least, for another $2.99 medium-sized French Fries.

(for more information about stuff going on at the airport visit/click Victoria International Airport)


  1. You're an inspiration, Lisa!

    Can't wait to hear that your book made someone happy on a 12-hour haul to Taiwan or Sydney.

  2. Thank you, Rachel. Who knows where it will end up....will be interesting to see. Now - if I can only stop obsessing and move on....Thank you for reading! Lisa