It shouldn’t surprise you by now when I say I have bad luck on planes and in airports. However, this is not my standard abysmal luck. There is a whole catalogue of incidents revolving around airports and planes. I’ve succeeded in very few no-dramas, embarrassment free flights. I’m not sure where this particular incident sits in the rankings precisely, but its definitely up there.
For my fifteenth birthday, my Grandma took me to Rome. For 8 years all I had ever wanted to do was go to Rome. I think it all stems from the Lizzie McGuire movie, but we’ll just pretend that’s not entirely true. Unlike Lizzie, I didn’t get discovered by a phony-but-who-actually-cares-that-you-can’t-sing-when-you’re-that-pretty, Italian superstar and get to sing at the Colosseum, even though I would have jumped at the chance had it come up. My similarities with Lizzie McGuire start and end with our uncanny ability to embarrass ourselves.
My Roman incident began at the airport, where, inevitably I was on my ass with the whole of Gatwick airport privy to my embarrassment. My boot had caught on my grandmother’s wheelie bag and I had been taken for a ride like a cartoon cowboy attached to his horse. I was dragged by the foot, half hopping, half stumbling through the security maze until I got so twisted and bedraggled I fell over, taking out a couple of stanchion posts with me. This would usually be the time I would do anything short of human sacrifice just to get away from the people who bore witness to my fall. But, I was in an airport and had my sixty-something grandmother in tow, so I soldiered (limped) through the security queue.
Please note before reading any further that I am in no way criticizing the staff or the security at our nation’s airports….well, maybe I am a bit.
Everyone knows the deal, put ones crap in plastic box, walk through empty doorframe holding passport, reclaim crap from plastic box. At least, that had always been what I had been told to do, prior to this incidence, but the overly large, gender undecided guard told me that I had to put my passport and boarding pass in the box with all my other stuff. (Please also note ‘other stuff’ included the traitor boots and my belt.) I walked through the metal detector and straight through to the other side where I bent down to put my shoes back on. I stood back up and reached into my box for my passport, only it wasn’t there. I quickly asked my grandma if she’d picked it up, she says no. My heart is in my throat and my palms begin to sweat as grandma makes a fuss and gains the attention of every security personnel within a hundred feet. The surrounding security desks have frozen and pretty much all eyes are on us (my favourite) and I’m genuinely thinking I’m about to see the inside of one of those interrogation rooms with the one way glass and single bright spotlight. Until, this little lady in front of me unzips her bag and holds out my passport to me. In her other hand, she is holding a different coloured passport that obviously belongs to her. I silently snatched back my passport and steered my grandmother out of there –belt-less, I might add- before she single-handedly brought an entire airport to a standstill. She was about to cause a scene, a fist fight and very potentially a war whilst 20+ guns surrounded us. I love the woman to death but she’s got a temper.
For all the comedy in it, Just think for a minute; she would have had to purposely reach into my plastic box containing my other belongings and take my red passport. She had ample opportunity whilst I was bent over and zip it into her bag. All whilst her own green passport was in her left hand?
Call me Jacques Clouseau (or Miss Ungermeyer) but I think there was something fishy going on there…