Airports are hell on earth. This we know. Anyone who has taken a flight since 9/11 knows this.
In the last six months I have been in several airports across Europe - in pursuit of the sun, yes, but primarily on family business (I have three children living abroad)
And so, I can say to you all in all honesty that I am now totally, utterly and completely (forgive the tautology) allergic to airports. I hate the damn places. With a vengeance.
From that first moment of anxiety at the car park entrance (will the barrier go up for my prepaid parking, will the camera recognise my vehicle or will it take a stook and ignore it?) to that moment when the plane goes up (lifts off ) it’s all one almighty pain in the butt.
No ifs or buts. And no, I am not going to bore you with all the boring, ball-breaking, tedium and hassle that goes on in that hell hole we call Departures. I simply want to let off some steam about the bee I have in my bonnet about bees wax! Yep, bees wax.
We are flying home from Manchester airport (which is infuriatingly inadequate on signage, you’d need a bloody satnav to find your departure gate) and I am so looking forward to sinking into my own bed for a deep, deep sleep – but first security. SECURITY. SECURITY. SECURITY.
The bane of my life. The bane of everyone’s life, I imagine, but the bane of my life because of my prosthetic hip which religiously sets off the alarm and has me beeping like a radioactive walrus, or whatever, you get the picture. ‘It’s my metal hip’, I explain. ‘Yeah’, they think but a prosthetic hip is a lame excuse as far as security is concerned who are not impressed by your soft smile and gentle demeanour. As far as they’re concerned you’re a prime, potential terrorist harbouring a suspicious device in your lower intestine. Or hip!
Called to one side
And of course I’m called to one side and that’s when the ‘security shuffle’ starts – hands in the air, hands down, legs apart, legs together, feet up, feet down, scanned to the left, scanned to the right, empty the pockets (already empty) and repeat again just for good measure.
Eventually I get the all clear. And off I go. And I dearly want to turn and say: ‘I told you so.’ But you don’t dare.
There is only one way to go through airport security – meekly. Very meekly. And now as I wait for my carry-on bag to come through the x-ray port – it doesn’t! Instead I notice that it’s been taken to one side.
That’s when a security lady approaches me. ‘Sir, is this your bag?’ ‘It is.’ ‘Sir, did you pack this bag yourself?’ ‘I did.’ A blatant lie. My wife always packs my bag as I regularly leave stuff behind and besides she (my wife) is hardly going to slip a sachet of cocaine or a small handgun into her husband’s luggage. Is she? Come to think of it – it could well be a way of ridding oneself of an irritating spouse!
Security lady runs the scanner along my bag and ’beep, beep, beep’ – again. Good God has the bag a prosthetic hip too? She opens it, rummages for a bit and hauls out a tin.
A tin of bees wax polish! That I had no idea was there! ‘Sir’, she points out, ‘this is over 100 mil and I shall have to confiscate it.’(Jeez, can you make a bomb out of bees wax, I’m wondering) ‘Okay’ I say and was about to say – ‘actually it’s not mine, it’s hers (pointing to my wife) I’m only the mule for her tin of goddam bees wax polish’. But I didn’t.
Instead I smile benignly and curse my wife silently who sailed through security and who later berates me, ME, for the loss of her bees wax polish. As if I was responsible. ‘What was I suppose to do?’ I ask. ‘Oh, don’t mind me.’ she says.
But I do. I always mind what my wife says (well sometimes, okay now & again, oh, once in a blue moon if I’m to be honest) ‘What did you want it for anyway?’ I enquire. ‘Never mind.’ ‘By the way’ I tell her, ‘Did you know that you can make a bomb with bees wax polish?’
She looks at me as only a wife can look at a husband who’s trying to be funny but who is totally, utterly and completely not. And off we head to our gate, and to quote Mr. Churchill – ‘If you’re going through hell – keep going.’ And we do.