So I’m currently sitting in Birmingham International Airport (BHX for you international airport designation fetishists) doing a wee bit of typing, because people keep staring at me. There’s a chance that I may be called away for my flight soon, but unless I say otherwise, assume I wrote this post here, also this post is going to be FUCKING MASSIVE)
-funny fact-ette, I’m at a Costa coffee adding to my future massive heart-attack and people keep staring at me. The place is packed with home-goers, all sharing tables, but I’m the fat girl at the party with icing on her chin that no-one wants to dance with. Awwww.
First of all, why am I in Birmingham when, cor blimey Mary Poppins, I live in London?
Good question reader! Well, yesterday (22nd) I left my little Uberflat in the wee hours, slipping and sliding with my luggage and Lassie as I tried to walk up my little street which was glazed with ice. I somehow made it to the train station, looking like a plum that someone had jizzed on, got the train and after a half-hour journey, found myself in Luton airport.
Now, I was a bit hungover yesterday. On Monday I went to the jobcentre and then found out that my dole application had been rejected. That’s right, I’m so awesome that I can’t even sign on properly. Anyway, I was walking back from the Dole office, feeling somewhat dejected about how the week had been when I passed a joke shop with ‘Help Wanted’ written on it. I bounded in, shaking myself like a dog (it was snowing ridiculously heavily) and met the manager. I gave him my CV, heavily implied I would give him oral sex, and went on my way, somewhat bouyed by how I may have just gotten a job, and choosing to ignore that it was in no way a Law job or that no-one else seemed to be interested in having it.
(Quick question out there: Who thinks I should work in a joke shop?)
I went to the pub to say goodbye to my barfly friends (the cool pub I drink at, not the shit hole I sometimes work at...) and had a few whiskeys (Yes ‘whiskey’ not ‘whisky’, based on the Irish word Uisce Bheatha – Water of Life. Thank god/Darwin for St. Jameson) by the fire. It was lovely, a perfect warm respite from the freezing evening outside.
I had to cancel a date with ‘the girl that I’m seeing’ (which was really annoying cos she’s great) because I was going to have to leave the house at four or five to get the train because of the snow. Therefore the evening became a bit of a nothing-to-do affair so I stayed by the fire and chatted to my friends.
When I say ‘a few whiskeys’, I can’t really quantify how many. I drink doubles, because singles seem lonely, and there were definitely a few. Then people heard the ‘Boom Boom Pow’ story of my black eye and grew to love my sparkling repartee, and a few kind souls started buying me Christmas drinks. At that point I may have gone next door to the shithole and chatted for a while, because I distinctly remember drinking Guinness with a few of the grrrrrr locals and there was definitely more boozing there. I had a pizza at some point, then went back to the cool bar.
Scene deleted (I just called my friend Beatriz who works in the Cool Bar to find out what happened, and she said she’ll find out for me. I was good though, didn’t do anything bad at least)
I woke up at about 4, feeling grand. The birds were singing, the trees were saying and I definitely was not hungover. Yes, there was a distinct taste of vomit, and at least six hours were missing, but I hadn’t been raped and was in my own house, ready to get ready to try and get ready to go home...
I was in Luton airport with a hangover. The worst snowstorm for the last 15 years was still raging, and quelle fucking surprise, like the sword of Damocles hanging over our holiday ambitions, the world-weary Easyjet crone-in-chief announced the flight was cancelled.
-Rather miffed, as you might imagine, I approaced the desk and asked whether there was any chance of transferring to a later flight.
-I asked was the any point in trying to wait to see if the status changed (cos I imagine airport announcements to be rather like Facebook updates- “Luton Airpost is: So psyched for the snowwwwww!!! lololololo xx <3”)
-I asked could I pay cash-money to buy a ticket on a later flight
Yes, sir (she didn’t say sir)
-I asked when the next available flight was.
Fuck sake. I waited for about four or five hours and when it was patently clear that NOTHING was gonna happen, I went home.
(N.B. There was ‘an American’ present. ‘An American’ in travel terms for people who live outside the US, is the one American customer who makes a fuss about service. Usually middle-aged women in mountain-climbing boots and clothes woven from hemp, drinking from an unnecessarily large nalgene, her hair streaked liberally with grey. The usual response to ‘There was an American on my flight’ is to say ‘Ugh’. This is not an insult to Americans btw, it’s an inconvenient truth. My ‘American’ jumped up on the counter and sat, shouting at Easyjet Staff about her rights. I didn’t bother pointing out the finer aspects of consumer rights law to her, I couldn’t betray the sisterhood.)
I went to the Uberflat again and freaked out, there may or may not have been a few tears. My parents sprung into action. There were three options.
1) Spend Christmas and New Year with my lovely family in Kent (with whom I spent most of the Summer)
2) Take a 13 journey by train to Scotland, get the ferry to Belfast and teh Bus home. I favoured this because of the clear ‘adventure’ aspect.
3) Get the train tomorrow to Birmingham and get a flight to Derry, my home.
My mum bought the ticket, and this morning I once again got on the train. It cost £66 from London to Birmingham. That is more that the original (cancelled return flight to Belfast) cost.
Anyway, I’m in Birmingham airport:
For some reason people seem to fundamentally change their personalities when they’re about to travel, and not for the better. First of all, they overdress, to the extreme. Dowdy middle-aged women slap enough powder to represent modern art masterpieces (or fake-tan homages to spider web collections) and men, clearly dressed by their wives, adorn themselves with stone-washed denim, brown leather brogues, and whichever middle aged cry-for-help Esquire magazine has tricked them into buying.
(That’s not a swipe at Esquire, but it IS bit offputting to see men as old as my Dad trying to dress trendier than I do...not that the bar is set extremely high)
Also, because they’re about to do the unthinkable and jump on a plane, they think they’re superior to everyone. It’s the same from Forks, Washington to Ulaan Bataar (Twilight AND Mongol Rally ref. Tasty) people leave their manners with their packed liquids at the security queue.
I was in the queue for security when a little kid tripped over and started crying, his parents were about a foot or so in front and had sorta missed him for a second, as clearly happens when you’re running through an airport with the whole family. I love kids, and stooped down and scooped the wee blighter up, gave him a sorta half smile/half giggle and walked him to his Dad who had noticed. The wee fella grabbed my hand and I walked him over to his dad and did that ‘oh he had a fall’ thing and the Dad smiled his thanks. Then, the Mum, basically shoved the husband aside and wrenched the boy to her, glaring at me.
(I’m sorry, mea culpa, I clearly didn’t get the memo saying that if you help a kid who’s tripped you’ve become a foaming-at-the-mouth paedophile. I’ll just step over him next time)
The dad was mortified and I walked on.
So now I sit, with 20 minutes until my gate opens and the effects of the coffee kicking in. The place has quietened down a little and a feeling like le petit mort has settled in. For one I am glad to be going home, even if the flight is a little delayed.
See y’all on the other side folks.
ps - I'm in Ireland now, after many hours of travel. The flight was diverted, then on arrival at a different airport, the buses were delayed. I'm now finally home, drinking red wine by the fire and watching Bridget Jones 2- The Edge of Reason with my wee sis and mum. They're perturbed by how much of the dialogue I know. I'm gonna sleep for a fucking week (hadn't sworn enough) and then have a fan dabby dozy Christmas. I'm gonna forget the worst week ever
1) The Boom Boom Pow
2) The No Job
3) The dole rejection
4) The missed flight
5) The mammoth journey home.
all that is going to be offset by
AN AMAZING FUCKING CHRISTMAS WITH THE PEOPLE I LOVE.