As my regular readers will know, I have not much in the way of patience. Never have. I wonder if patience is innate or learned. No doubt nurture can influence our capacity for patience but surely nature generated a base line. If patience is innate, what personality trait is associated with it? Evidently that trait is not in my quiver. To use a hoary but widely known model, in Jungian/Myers-Briggs terms I am an INTJ – Introverted, Intuitive (Perceiving dimension), Thinking (Judging dimension) and Judging (I Think before I Perceive) and I’ve long thought (or is that, felt, or believed?) this pattern of personality is not well suited to patience. I think it’s the Intuition, Judging elements. I can ‘see’ the final outcome I want, dealing with all the tedium of getting it done takes too much time. It’s not that I’m pragmatic or expedient (or, horrors, lazy), it’s just that I want the result, now. Oh, when I’m in ‘flow’, and am fully immersed in what I am doing, and I can sense the good result within my grasp, I am quite content. But when I am not in flow, and I am struggling to make headway, and all I can see in my intuitive future is more and more obstacles, well, I get frustrated, annoyed, stressed even; even to the point of not sleeping well.
(Like all generalizations this are only partly true. Sometimes I am patient. Sometimes the journey is more satisfying than the arrival. I am a patient lover. Allegedly.)
Said to be a virtue (though, curiously, not one of the ‘Great Virtues’ (André Compte-Sponville)), Patience can be learned, or so we are also told, and there is no doubt in my many years, and even more so in the last many months, I have had plenty of opportunities for honing this virtue.
Let me count the ways:
Absence from Carmen
I have nothing to report on any progress with respect to being able to resume conjugal relations with the Filipina beauty, Carmen Espino, she locked down in Philippines, and me unable to bring her to Canada. We continue to accept the unfairness of life and the covid virus and government efforts to fight a foe it knows little about and battles with belief, not reality. We knew it may take months to be together again, many months, but it becomes harder and harder to endure, the raison d’etre of human being less and less manifest; the result, a dulling of the spirit. Carmen constantly repeats the mantra, ‘it’s only temporary’, which hopefully is actually true, but I grow tired of the wait. Or perhaps more accurately, I grow impatient with not being able to solve this problem.
Air Canada Customer Service
I’ve never been in the anti-Air Canada league. I always figured they were doing the best they could in a very tough industry. And being a big air carrier, serving a very large set of global and domestic routes, makes this even harder. I’m also very sympathetic to the management problem of trying to get uniform response in terms of customer service from all its thousands of employees: Not possible, especially if most are unionized and the inevitable bad actors and poor performers are almost invulnerable to disciplinary corrective action. So I am a loyal Air Canada customer complete with Aeroplan Membership since 1978; Super Elite status (after my many semi-circumnavigation travels this past year that should be worth something!)
But my patience has run thin with my negotiations to have my disrupted return travel to Canada compensated. To refresh your memory, when I presented myself at the [Air Canada partner] Cathy Pacific registration desk in Manila on May 13 at 9:00 a.m. to fly to Hong Kong and make my connecting flight there with Air Canada to Vancouver-Toronto-Ottawa, I was refused boarding. Hong Kong authorities had decreed that no foreign national was allowed to enter Hong Kong during the covid-19 Community Quarantine; even though I protested that I would not be leaving the airport and merely making my connection, the answer was the same, not possible. “Very sorry, sir.”
It was not Cathay Pacific’s fault. Air Canada’s own ticketing agent in Customer Service (in New Brunswick no less) had booked the flight and that agent ought to have known that a non-Hong Konger would be denied entry at Hong Kong Airport even for a connecting flight. The lovely lady at the Cathay Pacific counter suggested I try All Nippon Airlines, a few counters down the way. She believed the flight at 2:40 (the only other flight out of Manila that day!) to Tokyo Haneda would accept foreign travelers to Japan. But what if I couldn’t catch a flight on to Canada??? I had few options. Luckily I was able to book a flight with All Nippon Airlines from Manila to Tokyo, and on to Vancouver! and there I would be able to pick up my original booking for Toronto and Ottawa. But the ANA one-way segment cost me US$2214.03 (about $3000CDN). I attempted to reach Air Canada throughout this affair but they were not answering my emails and I could not phone them.
When I got to Canada two days later I began my conversations with Air Canada. They refused to accept responsibility and refund me this additional expense I had incurred. After many exchanges with Air Canada’s Customer Service agents (one of whom simply stopped corresponding – maybe she was among the 20,000 Air Canada employees laid-off!) I gave up and was obliged to accept whatever compensation they were prepared to offer. I had no faith that an appeal to the Canadian Transportation Agency would bear much fruit and I doubted I could stand this further test of my patience quotient. (Believe me, I get it, Air Canada, and all the airlines around the world now have a huge liquidity and viability problem, with many billions of dollars of losses!) Long story short, I eventually succumbed to the inevitable and accepted a voucher for the whole of the unused booking (both Carmen and me). I should see the voucher in about six weeks! Maybe by then I’ll be able to go back to The Philippines – if I can ever get answers from Canadian Immigration, and The Philippines exit authorities.
And here is part three of that story, I have filed a trip interruption claim with my travel insurance carrier, Johnson-Medoc, and I hope for some relief from that quarter. It’s been 10 days since I made the claim. No doubt more patience is required.
Publishing Travels With Myself
If any of you have considered publishing a book, and I know at least four of my readers have already published at least one) please think again, or at least call me before you do. Writing a book is, to most people, the hard part. It is not. (At least, it’s not that hard if you have the requisite skills to write something worthwhile in the first place). The harder part is editing and revising and polishing. And this requires a lot of stamina and patience. (In fact the hardest part of all is figuring out how to promote and market your book, and doing the slogging of getting your book in front of buyers – but that for a future blog post.) The harder part for me at the moment is getting the manuscript in technically acceptable shape to be uploaded to my printer/publisher, lulu.com’s server. Travels With Myself is my seventh project working with my preferred self-publishing house (though lately I have had serious misgivings about that) so I was expecting some challenges. (To be perfectly candid, three of those projects, challenging in their own right (many charts and images and footnotes), presented many challenges in uploading to Lulu.com, but I experienced most of those challenges vicariously because I had begged my graphics designer [the very patient Patti Moran] to help me sort all the criteria with Lulu.com.) My last project, Amitié, a novel, was challenging in the writing and the many revisions but turned out to be problem-free in uploading to lulu’s servers, probably because of the absence of images and footnotes. So I expected, now a veteran of self-publishing, only a few minor adjustments with putting Travels with Myself in play.
Well I can tell you it has not been the picnic I had imagined. Three weeks later, with many iterations of uploading, deciphering the error messages, making changes and trying again, not to mention the begging of help from the ever patient Patti, I have finally found and corrected all the errors and my manuscript is ready to go. And so it went, on Monday. Now I wait for my proof copy to come back to me for final inspection. Please pray for me if you are so-inclined, or at least wish me luck.
Here is the final cover design:
Please note the thumbnail picture of moi on the back cover. A majority of survey respondents did not vote for that picture but that is the author’s prerogative. I decided that since this was a serious book, it needed a serious picture of the grief-stricken author. The winning picture will be used for my website and various social media pages as I seek to promote this book. And I will choose some other more cheerful shots for my next project: The Treasure of Stella Bay
Here’s the reader’s choice picture:
If the proof copy of the book proves perfect I will then be able to turn on the distribution switch. I wouldn’t expect you to buy a copy of this book as most of you have already read it through the Travels With Myself blog. But if you would like a copy to add to your shelves, and promote it to your friends, I’ll tell you about that in my next post.
Thank you for your patience.
Doug Jordan, Reporting to you from Kanata Ontario.
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