Of Airports and other purgatories

With the end of the year drawing closer and closer, so does the possibility that I’ll have to be in a plane again.

Like many other people who hate flying and who enjoy grounded life, planes are obviously my least favourite places in the whole wide world. Airports and government buildings in South America are a very (very!) close second.

Airports, I feel, have become the place where good manners and elegance have gone to die. Where else can you expect to see people growing impatient, angry, anxious, before abandoning all resemblance of common decency and beginning to engage in line-cutting, foot-stomping and sometimes screaming? And all of this happens even before they ask you to take off your shoes at the security check – by which point, particularly during the holiday season, we’ve come to embrace the madness. Unless, of course, you belong to that category of unrealistically wealthy people which doesn’t have to be on the same boat (or plane) as the rest of us. If you do belong to such category of people, I’d beware, because it looks like you might be a dying breed. But I digress.

As The Angry Chef and I waited to board the plane that would take us on a ten-hour journey (!!!) to Vancouver (via Frankfurt – another one in my “not-so-much-my-favourite-spot” category), I couldn’t help but notice a fashionably (and expensively) dressed young woman, with an equally expensive-looking toddler wiggling away on her lap.

I put down the book I was reading and shamelessly eavesdropped on the woman’s conversation with her whimpering child.

“I know, my love,” she said, lovingly, “Mummy hates flying, too.

I smiled to myself; there was only one person I knew who would say that to her child.

It was Her. She looked up and saw me, and smiled and waved. The Boy saw me too, and his crying gave way to his trademark mischievous grin. He still remembered me from a night not so long ago, when an unlikely musical duo sang an unlikely lullaby for him.

I walked over to the empty seat next to Her and sat down.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” she said. I nodded.

“I like what you’ve done with The Story,” she said, filling the uncomfortable silence and the Boy continued to wiggle away. “You should keep it up. It’ll be quite something when it’s finished.”

“Don’t know about that,” I told her, in my usual self-deprecating way. “But I will finish it.”

She looked at me, a little confused. The Boy furrowed his brow, equally confused. Funny, I thought, he really does look exactly like his dad.

“You do know,” she said, with a certainty I don’t usually expect from my characters, “It’ll be quite something, because it will be yours. You shouldn’t knock that.”

The Angry Chef touched my shoulder.

“Come on, they’re boarding.”

So we did.

Thank you for reading, and enjoy the lead-up to New Year’s Eve!


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