By Holly Thomas
I went to Barcelona recently and this is how it went.
We were a right motley crew, my mum and I. She has a broken shoulder (long story for another time) and I had a sore left foot. Don’t ask me why, I’m not sure why, I just know it hurt when I walked and I’d developed an unattractive hobble.
It was a hard day on Friday to make it to the airport. If you were at the pub on Thursday you’ll know why I was feeling rough Friday morning. If you weren’t – ask me another time I’ll catch you up if you can stomach it. But it involves vomit and naked crumpet eating.
Anyhow we made it to the airport, me plus mum plus hobble and cast. I hate flying and I shall tell you for why. Whenever we go through security I am certain that I have something illegal in my bag. I don’t know if you have seen Bridget Jones but she willingly takes some hideous sculpture for her friend and it transpires there’s a bunch of illegal drugs inside it. I always imagine someone will slip a grenade or some acid or something into my bag while I’m not looking and then my whole life will be over in a blink of an eye.
As we were in the queue for security I heard a man behind me finishing a conversation and he said “we’re off to Rome dahling”… “no you know… Rome darling”….. “have you never been to Rome?!”…. “You know, it’s where Julius Caesar lived”. I remembered how brilliant people are.
I went through security and set off the alarm. She was going over me with a handheld metal detector and it was beeping, to be frank, over my nipples. I had a baggy jumper on and she asked me to lift it up, where she was confronted by the metal clasps of my dungarees. She looked at me with pure hatred and said “these are the most difficult items of clothing to check, usually it’s only kids though”.
I pretend not to notice the judgement and turn to survey my mother. They’ve asked her to take her boots of and she’s saying please no it takes forever to get them on with a broken shoulder. They insist! I then try to go back through the metal/bomb detector to help my beloved mother with her stubborn boot which causes a total FURORE with security who say that I could be using it as an excuse to smuggle something. Smuggle something back through security? I ask. They look at me as if to say “enough of your lip young lady” but I didn’t even mean to be sarcastic I just literally wonder what they think I could have possibly picked up, or dropped off in that 3 second interaction.
Mum then goes through the detector and let me tell you all hell breaks lose. I mean obviously. She’s got a huge hunk of metal keeping her shoulder attached to her arm. She stands helpless looking at me as they ask if she can take it off. Take what off! I exclaim. Her arm?
I am then told to stand to the side which I do but with a face that lets everybody know I’m not happy about it. Because let me tell you I’m not. Happy.
We eventually get through security and on to the plane. I’m carrying all of mum’s stuff too and it’s a struggle for me to fit down the narrow aisle. We finally reach our row which is conveniently slap bang in the middle – next to neither door. I manage to shove our bags in the overhead cabin (also difficult for someone as vertically challenged as me). We sit. We strap in. We’ve put mum next to the window so her shoulder is protected from people walking past and strangers. We have made it!
Along comes Nelly know-it-all air hostess. I’m sorry you’ll have to move. Why? Your mother has a broken arm – how do you expect her to open the emergency door in an emergency? It is very heavy. Extremely heavy! Very, extremely heavy.
Really? I ask. Do we have to? I ask. Yes. It is very heavy.
Surely by that logic I shouldn’t be able to sit next to it either. I have measly arm muscles. I can barely lift a pea! I can barely write with a pen! Weak thimbly arms I have. Got them from my dad. Lets hold an audition for the strongest arms on the plane and get them to sit next to the emergency door. It’s the only fair way! For the safety of the passengers and the crew!
My mum puts her hand on my arm as if it say “please don’t”. So I don’t.