Saturday was our last day in Canada, and we didn’t get up and going until 11ish. We ate a giant brunch of pfannkuchen–dutch pancakes–at a little diner chain called De Dutch, and then set out for the last item on our Vancouver itinerary: the VanDusen Botanical Gardens.
Our flight left at 10 p.m., so we figured we had until about 6 to meander through the gardens. We spent the first hour gushing over rhododendrons, reading fast facts about useful wild plants, and surreptitiously sneaking bites of redwood sorrel, which is a little cloverish ground cover that tastes delicious and lemony. At this point we were about ⅓ of the way through the gardens, and looming in front of us was a sprawling hedge maze.
We set off into the maze nonchalantly–as members of the Harry Potter generation, we had high expectations for hedge mazes. This one seemed devoid of sphinxes and giant spiders, and the probability of encountering He Who Must Not Be Named was low.
But deep in the hedge maze, one monster did rear its ugly head: situational irony. At around 5 p.m., Eileen got a text from United Airlines, which read, “Your 6 p.m. flight has been delayed until 6:30.”
Apparently our flight was NOT at 10. We looked at each other in panic, and began sprinting through the maze, running into dead ends and around maze cul-de-sacs before finally tumbling back out the entrance.
As we bolted through rhododendron-lined paths and across koi-stocked ponds, we called my Twitter friend, who, understanding the gravity of the situation, hopped in his car immediately to drive us to the airport. Unfortunately, we were still too late to catch our flight, and had to wait until 11 to take the red-eye to Houston.
Delirium set in in the airport, and we were laughing so loudly that an old man asked us to share with him the secret to happiness (I guess it’s the sheer exhilaration of getting stuck in hedge mazes, but I couldn’t tell you for sure).
At the gate, I was sharing pictures of a terribly ugly baby bird from Vancouver with Eileen and Evelyn, and I decided it couldn’t hurt to air drop it to the only other person whose laptop showed up on the finder page. The person, identified only as “Io,” accepted. Within minutes, they had responded with another meme. This conversation ensued:
As we got up to board, the man directly across from us looked at us and said, “it was nice talking to you ladies.” We talked to him a while about the bird, and I showed him what I had tweeted about it. He said he would retweet, and he did, and then we split off to our seats on different parts of the plane. When we looked at his twitter, he was verified! We had been spamming a well-known author with pictures of birds.
We got back to Austin at 7 a.m., and I went to HEB and tried to put my life in order before the cold shock of a full-time job began then next day–a jolt not unlike jumping into the frigid water of a turquoise-blue mountain lake.