So I’ve delivered the hire car back to the young man who resembles Jeff Brazier, even down to the same accent and spent the morning mooching around the arrivals hall at Stansted airport. It’s only 11.20 a.m. and I’ve noticed that there’s quite a lot of people speaking German and that the group of Eastern European men opposite me, who are swigging neat vodka out of a bottle they’re passing around are reinforcing their own stereotype. I decide it’s time to choose what will be lunch today, and having already decided it will be something healthy, I head to Pret a Manger and select a crayfish and avocado salad and return to my original seat. Opposite me now is a small boy, just a toddler and he’s eating a ham baguette that is the same length and thickness as his arms; he looks so funny dwarfed by his giant bread-stick. All around me people have their laptops open to Facebook, I switch on my iPod and it shuffles forward and Little Boots sings Motorway, as I tuck into my salad.
I mooch some more and as I’m getting bored decide to ask if I can enter the departure lounge, as at least there’s shops to spend time in. The woman on the Ryanair desk says it’s okay and asks me to keep an eye out for the departure gate for the Pescara flight as all the information boards have malfunctioned. I join the queue at security, take off my belt: I have never understood why we have to do this. When my turn comes, the sign above my head reading, ‘stop this nerk and check his case’ must have lit up as my case has caused the machine to bleep and it’s been diverted to another bench. I’m called over and am asked if the case contains any liquids or creams. I respond in the negative but do tell the man who’s opening it that there’s a six-month supply of prescription drugs and a metal loaf tin inside. He removes the loaf tin and takes the case back to be x-rayed. The machine bleeps again and he comes back and asks me again if there’s any liquids or creams inside, again i reply, no and he smiles. “There’s deodorant inside,” he says. Recollection crosses my face and I tell him I’d forgotten it was there.
There’s now a small crowd all wanting to see what contraband is inside my case, they watch as the security guard removes two animal themed onsies, four packets of Colman’s chilli con carne mix, a retractable washing-line, a large orange rubber hoop and what looks like bags of powder. A woman leans in to see as the bags of powder are revealed and is visibly disappointed to see the bags contain turmeric, garam masala and cumin. (I’ll admit it: I’m a culinary powder trafficker). The man then retrieves three aerosols and two roll-on deodorants, “They had a sale in Asda,” I say as if that’ll make everything all right. He then swabs the case for narcotics, I assume and takes off the deodorants to be tested, before returning them to me in a plastic bag. I re-pack my case and am skulking off in the direction of departures when he calls me back. The nosey woman stops and turns to watch as he says, “You forgot these.” and I watch as he holds up a clear plastic bag containing three tubes of water-based lubricant with the words ‘Sensual Lube’ emblazoned across them. I take them from him and then say, “They had a sale on at …” I don’t go into any further details and remove myself from the security section and melt into the duty free shopping area.
Finally it’s time to join the queue for my flight, a man with a clipboard tells me it’s gate 57 and off I go, I join the long line of people waiting and just by chance catch sight of the person in front’s boarding pass and see that it says, Seville, I have no desire to go to Spain so I ask another steward with a clip board where the Pescara flight leaves and he tells me gate 55. I’m delighted to see I’m at the front of the queue, I’m joined by several Italians and before long there’s around 150 people behind me. The operative opens the gate and I hand in my passport and boarding pass, she looks at it, shakes her head and tells me I’m in the wrong place, as this is the gate for the 16.15 flight to Kaunas, Lithuania. I explain to the handful of Italians with me that we are in the wrong place and they follow me to another man with a clip-board, he checks and tells us gate 59, and we all head off hoping it’s the correct one. It was, thankfully but in all the confusion I not only lost my place at the front of the queue but found myself standing behind the nosey woman from security, who when we come to board the plane makes sure she’s several seats away rom mine.
Sign of the Day