Citius, Altius, Fortius November 9, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Which seems odd.
Darlings, you must cancel all flights from the UK for at least the next 500 years. Just hunker down nicely for the winter and cancel your trips to your second home in Switzerland, your time-share on Mallorca or your once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Disneyworld. It ain’t worth it. Or at least not until the BAA has got its new security measures off-pat and stops trying to guarantee that everyone flying out of, say, Gatwick Airport, considers ending either his own life or that of one of his fellow-queuers knowing that his flight is likely to take off to say, Berlin, with his bags but without him.
Thankfully, I only fly EASYjET and their flights are always late, so I had as long as usual sitting in the departure lounge once I’d eventually done my queuing, taken most of my clothes off and, annoyingly, missed my chance of a free grope from the man with the beeping stick. (Mind you, I’d cheated at check-in by blatantly going to the hand-baggage-only non-queue and, having gone through every item of potential explosive, was thwarted by my toothpaste which came in a special, 25%-extra-free, 101mg tube. That’ll learn me for inheriting my mother’s ‘buy-anything-that’s-cheap’ gene, including Eritrean champagne. Still, the man took pity on me and took my luggage off my hands there and then.)
Miraculously, I was seated in the front row, which affords leg-space and inappropriate access to the trolley-dollies’ ‘private’ conversation. “Is it something I’ve done?” wondered Estuary-English trolley-dolly who had a save-the-world complex and thought he must be the root of every evil. “Nein, I just can’t bear it zat people don’t vont to help,” answered his stern, painfully-thin, Calvin-Klein-underpant-clad colleague. A plain lady with an inflated ego and expensive luggage panted on to the plane. She must have had a ‘scared-of-flying’ code on her boarding card as great fuss was instantly made. Estuary-English trolley-dolly was attentive and reassuring. The stern, painfully-thin, Calvin-Klein-underpant-clad colleague pretended he needed to count the kit-kats. A female member of staff, who was meant to be serving another bit of the plane altogether, even tried to get in on the act and started asking the plain lady if she’d like to sit in the front row. “Well, I would, but all the seats are taken,” she said, loudly. The female member of staff looked us over. I took a cue from my German neighbours and held my ground, whereas I am, of course, genetically programmed to say, “No, I don’t mind moving for a plain lady with an inflated ego who was the last person onto the plane because she was busy telling strangers about herself in Gatwick Village.” She sat behind me, hollering at the staff throughout. Annoyingly, both her German and English sounded so perfect that I couldn’t even tell which she was. Perhaps she was Namibian…
It was a night-flight. I looked out the window. London, presuming there isn’t some other metropolis between Gatwick and the English coast that I’ve never heard of, went on and on. The lights looked lovely, in a way, but the only things that stood out at all were the sports facilities, looking like computer screens glimmering away for all they were worth. Lovely little patches of green (probably astroturf), floodlit to buggery. My thoughts turned to the poor family hurriedly gathering its possessions in Stratford, all the while being stood over by masked men pointing machine-guns at them, the parents frantically packing electronic goods and Sunny Delight as their children, Alchemy and Romeo, stood crying.
“It’s not right, is it?” I said to my German neighbours. “It’s going to be like the Three Gorges dam all over again.” When I’m sure all those world-class athletes wouldn’t mind hopping on a bus and doing their running, skipping and jumping at Bexley Heath Sports Centre.