The waiting game

Anyone who has ever used flight as a mode of travel will tell you that waiting is a fundamental part of the journey.  Patience is just as important as your passport.  It is the skillset required to retain your sanity.

Enabling you to board a plane, some things needs to happen first.  You have to check in, thus waiting in a queue to have someone issue you a boarding pass.  Me, being best friends with Murphy will never get the nice, friendly lady who gives you the emergency exit, or even better bump you to business class.  I will get the man who argued with his wife this morning, after spilling his coffee.  That happens after you have successfully manoeuvred your luggage through the maze of people and toddlers and was bumped  twice by the over eager guy behind you.

Then you have to go through customs and wait some more.  It can be quick, but mostly in my experience, not.  And by the way, welcome to the Dark side.  Customs is the place which only appoint people who failed their personality tests.  These unfortunate people are forced to stamp thousands of passports until they die or retire, whichever comes first.  They see all these travellers, excited people seeing the world and the only way for them to get some justice in their life is to make yours a little bit more miserable.  Asking uncomfortable questions like, “Why do you look like a terrorist?”

Then you have to wait in line for security.  The scanning session.  I have come to the conclusion that less is better.  Clothes that is.  If the scanner is faulty you will have to strip down to the bear essentials,  just to show that you are not hiding a stick of TNT in your sock.

“No sir, it is not a gun in my pants, and no sir I am not excited to see you”.

Once you have dressed again you look at your watch just to realize that the recommendation to be at the airport at least 3 hours before the flight; is actually just your friends playing a sick prank.  You will have at least 1 hour and forty minutes before you can board.

So you have to wait some more.  Go ahead, browse the duty free shops, because we all need more expensive perfumes, electronics, tobacco and liquor.  Find a coffee shop and wait.  Watch the other passengers sleeping on airport benches, lonely business playing working on their laptops/i-pads, teenagers with BIG earphones ignoring their parents and smokers looking nervously for the smoking spot.  All waiting.

Then they call your flight and again there is a queue.  You hate the business class, rich bitches who are allowed to board first.  And then you wish your kids was travelling with you because families board second.  I have tried to attach myself to a family once, but decided I was not going to be accepted as the lost uncle of the small Indian family I chose.  At 6″4 they looked nothing like me… Then your section is called but you have to wait because the people have misunderstood the instructions for carry-on luggage.

“No ma’am a coffin will not fit in the overhead compartment.”

And this is only embarking.  Once you have flown 8 hours and arrive at your destination, you have the great honour to experience the same sequence waiting with the added benefit of a foreign language.  Then there is the moment of truth, the most dreadful wait…waiting for your luggage.  You stand around a conveyor belt not seeing your bag.  You scan everything like a hawk and count the people left behind as more and more lucky ones take off.  Like the survivors of  a rapture you stand with the lost souls without luggage.  And then you feel like you have just cured Aids when your little blue suitcase hops onto the carousel.

So you have your week abroad, wonderful, but you must return.  (Unless you are a South African in the late nineties boarding a plain to Australia.) Things occur in the same sequence, with the foreign language putting you right in the mood for the waiting game.

I have a final warning and that is the fact that a delayed flight might result in the Waiting game changing into a Crying one.   Teleportation anyone?

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