Gather round, younglings, as once again I have a story for your ears (..or eyes, because you’re reading this on facebook)
In this day and age we have all been to an airport at least once in our globalised lives, and most of us should know the feeling a person perceives when he/she sees a most undesirable person sitting nearby at the gate. This unwanted presence is usually a morbidly obese person with a DIY “Niagara Falls” print on his t-shirt under his armpits, an obstreperous brute or a boisterous virago shouting on the phone, a guy with an “Allah is my bff and I fucking hate America YOLO” jumper, Paris Hilton or the living definition of the word “weirdo”.
Today my caring father and his slave – my sibling – drove me to the airport and solemnly accompanied me to the security check area. During our brief exchange of “cheerios” and “toodle-oos”, we noticed a total weirdo bobbing along around the barriers. Details are rather important in situations such as this one, and hence I will describe this unearthly gremlin: probably in his 30s, but worn and torn like a 90-year-old war veteran; a NOFX t-shirt with Jesus written somewhere on the back; slick, greasy hair that made me want to pour what was left of my bottle of water on his head to give him a cathartic shower and free him from the oil well residing upon his noggin; yellow Vans trainers with rainbow laces. But the salient element, the worst and most striking, were these atrocious fucking head-phones sitting AROUND his head like a pair of glasses stuck on backwards.
My dad, clearly intrigued, took this freak of humanity to a liking and chuckled “Haha look it’s a terrorist”. I was about to blurt out something along the lines of: “Jesus Christ would you shut up, I bet he’s going to be on my plane now you said that”.
But I didn’t. I held my tongue. I didn’t want to tempt fate. It’s happened too many times: I pray to every known God to not let the creep at my gate sit near me on the plane and I find the god-forsaken fool sitting riiiiight next to me. Breathing my same air. How terrible.
My dad, however, beat me to it: “Nah, he hasn’t even got a rucksack, he’s probably just a loner, bumming around at the airport on a Sunday afternoon (AS ONE WOULD), might be waiting for someone”.
These words settled into my brain, soothing my soul, just like vanilla ice cream that slowly melts and smothers hot brownies. Brownies, however, that will never be digested: as I was already on board, locked, stocked and ready for take off, I took the time to study my surroundings. My eye fell on an elderly couple sitting in the immediate vicinity: the man was massaging his wife’s foot, cuddling her corns, bumping her bunions… You get the idea. In an evident state of disgust and repulsion, I decided to turn my head around…
And there I saw it. It. The suicide-bomber-weirdo-sociopath-creep from before.
My heart stopped. My stomach fell out of my arse (I was immediately forced by a hostess to pick it back up because it would have been dangerously in the way in case of an emergency). I saw the whole of “Big Fish” – crock of shit, an appalling film – pass in front of my eyes. I just wanted to cry.
Next to me, adjacent, shoulder to shoulder, elbow to elbow, murderer to victim. My brain was having fun conjuring up some gruesome images of decapitations and human butchering – I can be quite paranoid – and I was trying to devise plans for survival in case he should have hijacked the plane or self-defence ideas (a kick in the bollocks or a head to the head?) preparing for any eventual threats.
So there I was in mid-air, sobbing, fearing for my life, as one normally does when flying with Easyjet. I was on the point of bursting out crying like a pussy several times; I was even about to plead, beg the good-looking (and probably gay now I just said that) steward to move me to any other seat on the plane, but he probably would have told me to get a hold of myself and try to sell me a cup of tea for 4 frigging euros.
“Don’t look at him.. Ok shit I just did.. Avoid eye-contact Lia, like when you’re on the tube… Don’t look at his face.. Study his behaviour… Is he hiding a knife in his shoe? A scimitar in his 3/4-length trousers?.. Bugger, that’s it, you looked him in the eyes, typical crazy eyes… He’s going to make a Shish kebab out of you now, you’ve done it big time Lia”
Ok, so maybe my suspected terrorist, alleged criminal of seat-mate was completely innocuous (for today). Or almost: as we got up after the plane had landed to get our suitcases, the odd-bod obviously had to lift up his armpits – setting loose a legion of infernal, sweat-drenched odour particles into my nostrils, thus contaminating my poor lungs, polluting my existence, a waft of the underworld, the pungent stench of the 7 plagues of Egypt, used sanitary towels and McDonald’s toilets.
I will never pass judgement about potential co-travellers ever again, God. I know you enjoy the banter, but please, I’ve learnt my lesson.