Time to come home from Gran Canaria back to Essex. Last day of holiday is like a year’s worth of Sunday nights and New Year’s Eves all at once, when you don’t want to go back to work and think of everything else you’d rather do with your life with vague promises of making some changes.
I moan about going home and say, ‘the only thing there is to look forward to now is the Russian revolution on the history channel in full colour and high definition’. My husband Tony asks, ‘you looking forward to that then?’ ‘Nope, that’s kind of my point’.
Still at least our flight isn’t until 5pm and our cab to the airport is not until 3pm, or at least we hope, given some basic arrangements with the taxi company about them meeting us outside ‘the shop’ at a time I think we both understood to be the same.
It is the only nice day we’ve had since we have been here. Oh yer, everyone is on the beach today. Everyone is on the sun beds and splashing in the sea. Everyone is getting tanned and not shivering their tits off as we have all week.
After spending time sulking about going home and then taking snaps of basically everything, we went off for a civilised lunch and some Sangria, before a leisurely stroll back to the apartment to get our stuff and head to ‘the shop’ to meet the cab. Calm, relaxed, sunglasses on.
Of course, there was no cab there. And for 15 minutes we were sure one wouldn’t arrive until a car pulled up, which I can only describe as something between a stretched limousine and a hurse. It wasn’t in good condition. Every time we accelerated it sounded like a low inbound helicopter coming into land. Tony said, ‘Jeez, I’ve not been in a car this screwed since the Gambia’. Hard to hear him as we accelerate again.
The traffic was horrendous getting to the airport. The bloke tells us it’s the hottest day of the year so far (of course it is, we’re going home) and everyone is off to the beach. Gotta love that, it’s 3:30pm and people at work are like, ‘yer, about the conference call, I’m off to the beach’.
We got to the check in and prided ourselves on being the first to check into our flight. ‘This is the way to travel’, we said, exchanging proud glances, looking forward to a bit of civilised duty free shopping and a beer before hopping on our flight, though I am already transitioning into a nervous flyer quicker than Michael J Fox becoming a werewolf in Teen Wolf.
Off to airport security. It’s a mystery to me how flying from the UK its belts off, boots off and liquids in plastic bags. Over here none of this happens and I wonder whether they are taking this seriously or just thinking of getting to the beach on this the hottest day of the year.
There does appear to be an adequate level of attention as my stuff is pulled over. There was the initial conversation of, ‘have you got liquids in this bag’? ‘No’, followed by the security guy pulling out a large bottle of water, shaking his head and then putting it in the bin. Then he pointed at a security woman and I deciphered that his miserable grunts were informing me to go over to her. Yep definitely the case as this non-smiling, hard faced woman was calling me over with her finger.
Mrs Happy then started swabbing basically everything I owned. Inside my case, bag, you name it, it got swabbed. She pointed at my stomach and said some things that made me feel tense. She definitely wasn’t asking if I had a nice holiday and wishing me a pleasant flight!
She pointed at my stomach again. At which point I started lifting my dress up thinking she wanted to swab my stomach, like they do when you go into hospital thinking, I’m glad I didn’t go commando today. This was one of two options left to me when I discovered last night I was a pair of pants down. The other option, which I took, was to wash a pair in a dishwasher tablet. They are clean but crunchy.
With my full briefs on partial display to this lady, she frantically set about pulling my dress down for me, saying ‘no, no, no, no’. And then, she burst into hysterics. Even with the basic exchange between us, I knew she was saying, ‘what are you doing you twat’? She swabbed my tummy through my dress, laughing. She patted me on the arm, laughing. And she told the miserable grunter, laughing. They were both in hysterics. ‘Yes, funny, we laugh’, I said in Pigeon English in a way to bring us together, though my pants had just done that.
I look at Tony and he is shaking his head. ‘What have you just done? Did you actually just lift your dress up to that woman’? ‘Yes’, I said, looking back to see the woman bent over, still laughing. ‘Why the hell did you do that for god’s sake’? ‘Because I thought she wanted to swab my tummy’. ‘When have you ever known them do that at the airport’?
He had a point but in my defence, she just kept pointing at my stomach aggressively and I’ve taken 4 anti-mental flyer tablets (only supposed to take 2) and had a shit load of Sangria and I’m stressed as hell about flying and it all happened quickly.
‘Oh well, she was a miserable cow when we arrived. Now look at her. I’m just spreading the love’, I say. I think I’ll be spreading the love for a while judging by how much she is continuing to laugh, she’ll be telling co-workers for years, ‘I had a woman lift up her dress once’. Oh god, now she’s actually doing the motion of lifting up a dress to other co-workers now also laughing. Bastards.
So, my bag not only does not stand up and has fallen 118 times in the last 10 minutes (obviously I exaggerate to make the point), and the handle does not fold down, but both wheels have now jammed and are not turning. My case is basically just using them as skis. This prompts me to ask it if it’s ‘f’ing kidding me?’ And in an attempt to get one up on the bag, I turn it over and drag it on its stomach, repeatedly calling it a piece of crap and kicking it up the arse.
Our flight is called. As we walk to the gate, I remember why I fell out with this bag before. Coming back on a flight previously, I lost my boarding pass between entering the gate and the plane. Every single person on that flight went round me while I frantically searched my bags. They stepped over my case and its permanently extended handle, as it had naturally fallen over upon immediately coming to a stand. I eventually found the boarding card bastard nestled into the pages of my book (still not read).
I was the last person onto the aircraft that day. Everyone was seated and looking at me. Stressed, nervous about the flight and the wheels on the case rolling and stopping in an ad-hoc fashion, I kicked it along the gang way. The stewardess telling me to put my bag up the front as there was no more space above my seat at the back. Her offers of assistance ignored, I lifted the case/piece of crap up and in doing so, in one complete action, the handle forced its way up my floating shirt and as I lifted it into the overhead locker, it took my top up and flashed my lacy bra and a bit of nipple to the entire flight.
There exposed, I saw in slow motion every face on that flight looking at my chest. Tony just staring at me further along the plane with a look of embarrassment and disappointment which I’d like to never see again.
We are now boarding. I have my boarding pass, my dress is in its rightful place, I haven’t flashed anyone but I have transitioned into nervous flyer. We will be on our way shortly back to London Southend (er, it’s just Southend). Soon back to reality. Insert sad emoji here.
Ps, the picture is of our bags that just don’t stand!