A couple experience unprecedented freedom. Follow their story of escape.......
|We became suspicious upon arrival at the airport. Based on previous experience we expected to arrive in the usual state of extreme mental anguish brought on by Sydney traffic. However, we stepped into the airport foyer relatively poised, without losing the ‘do’ and all! It was our first miracle. Ok, we thought, so the traffic fairies did us a little favour today and we managed the airport in under 30 minutes. On reflection, it may have been a little above the fairies ability. Could have been the traffic Gods had a hand in this. Obviously things will go down hill from here.That’s one of the other rules. Escaping Sydney hurts.
With this in mind, you can imagine how our jaws dropped when we walked in to see no queue. Not one person lined up. Hmmm, we knew better than to begin celebrating our good fortune. We also knew better than to follow our first instinct, which was to run like maniacs to the desk before the obviously hidden crowds revealed themselves. Walking calmly toward the counter, we looked at each other in the telepathic manner of a long-married couple. We knew that getting this far was beyond science fiction, and once we spoke to a real person the illusion would end. They would tell us that we were too early, or that the flight was either delayed, cancelled, hijacked or had crashed. So it was that we trouped in a resigned fashion through the empty barricades towards the smiling person behind the counter. Hairs on the back of my neck stood up rigidly. Alert mode! A smiling person behind an airline counter?? This particular airline has a policy of only employing angry, sarcastic, slow imbeciles with permanent frowns. Their job description includes being as rude as possible at all times. They all have advanced diplomas in snarling. Perhaps this one was on drugs? It was the only explanation. We’d probably end up on a flight to Bosnia or something.
Pretending that we weren’t on to the whole drug thing, we put our ID on the counter and bags on the weighing apparatus. The smiling check-in guy was six foot, and delicious looking ( I was very careful to wipe away any collecting drool). When he saw my bag was 5 kilos over he just picked up a fluorescent tag and attached it to the suitcase. The cardboard warning screamed HEAVY! CAREFUL LIFTING! It included a cartoon picture of a man bending with shock waves coming from his back. This was obviously cleverly designed to cause immediate guilt. Seriously, it hurt to look at that cartoon! We made our way towards the x-rays machines.
It’s a fact that I’m part metal. It’s one of my many unexplained physical anomalies. I always set off the metal detectors. Belt off, shoes off, and still that sucker wails! It has occurred to me in the past that the staff may have bets with each other over the colour of people’s socks. I probably look like someone who would wear odd socks, or bizarre socks. This proves that they must be pretty good judges of character because I DO frequently wear socks like that. Go figure. Once again, the resigned sigh as we deposited our luggage on the conveyor belt and walked through the magic door. Silence. Nobody said “Excuse me, can you step this way please?” No alarms. No searching of luggage or removal of shoes required. Suspicion deepened. Things don’t go this smoothly! Damned if I was going to be lulled into a false sense of security though. The plane was sure to crash. It would fall slowly for maximum fear and gut rolling. Ah well, here for a good time, not a long time and all that.
It was 11 o’clock in the morning and we were free! No kids. No washing, ironing, cooking. No deadlines. Excitement began bubbling up. Even if we never got out of the airport it was good to just ‘be’ without demands. Aaaaahhh.
Brett decided he was starving. This was a familiar beginning to all our holidays. Holidays are automatically accompanied by an alarming increase in hunger levels, and an even more alarming increase in food consumption. We rationalise this by imagining it is balanced by the quality of food we consume. The quantity increases, while the quality decreases. It’s all nicely balanced, you see. Fruit, vegetables, and other nutritional stuff are immediately removed from the diet. Bring on cakes, chocolate, pastries and chips. Oh yeah, now the holiday has begun! I could see Brett scanning the fast food menu, pupils dilated, respirations elevated. Yep. This was full holiday mode. So, While Brett was deliberating over savour or sweet, I went off in search of the obvious. Champagne. Yes, it was outrageously early, but looking around the lounge I noticed that this choice had been made by a great many fellow escapees. Beer, wine, champagne, it was all flowing freely here at the airport. From the blurry expressions on some faces, I gathered that they’d been sampling beverages for a considerable amount of time. 11 o’clock didn’t seem early in the circumstances.
Brett feigned surprise and shock when I passed him his flute, but I suspected he was secretly pleased. This was confirmed when I briefly closed my eyes, took my first tentative sip, and opened them to witness Brett belching lustily and putting his empty glass on the table. Cheers!
Our flight was on time. Thankfully my paranoia was beginning to dissipate. Champagne can be good like that. The travelling fairies continued to lavish us with their magic. Window seat. Unobscured view. Thankyou God (or fairies or whoever, whatever). Time for a little nap. I’ve discovered morning champagne has definite advantages. No screaming babies or smelly passengers to cause tension. Perhaps it’s time to consider pinching myself again?
The story will have to end at this comfortable, sleepy juncture. It was my intention to write about the holiday, but somehow a detour developed and I ended up finishing part 1 before we’d even landed on the island. Stay tuned for part 2.