Monday, February 20, 2006

Snow Angels on 34th street part 1

I’m in the calm and safety of my softly lit room, finally the memories from the last week have settled in my brain into something resembling order and I feel confident that when recounting them here they won’t sound too much like the jabberings of a Benzedrine fuelled lunatic. It all started at the airport.

We arrived at Heathrow airport after a two hour coach journey but if I’m honest the journey seemed shorter because of the excitement and general hubbub of the forty or so other art students I was travelling with, all in different states non- sleep.

I was trying to impress with a fake travel weary rock star attitude at the airport check-in procedure, so I step too the counter and am greeted by the faux cheery Smiling Bint. After one look into her eyes I give up my weary act, knowing that to pull it off my soul would have to be as dead as hers, steeling myself for the inevitable joke, or worse, suppressed giggle, that my passport picture inevitably brings, I try to be charming, cross my fingers and pray to the fickle Airport god for the most holy of holys, an upgrade. “There’s been a problem” her smile doesn’t even fucking flinch while she says this “your seats been cancelled”. I think at this point I sigh and achieve exactly what I was trying to fake a minute ago. Bint then promptly disappears for to talk to a supervisor and/or have a cup of tea.

At this point everyone else has checked in, even my friend Phil who, while not particularly looking like a terrorist or a smuggler, defiantly looks guilty of something , and my course tutor is looking at me like I have got a holdall full of grenades and a kilo of Moroccan smack up my arse. I tell him to carry on and get in the queue for security, playing the role of grown up with everything under control.

When Bint gets back she explains that my seat was cancelled because a overzealous co-worker of hers, when checking in a different person with my name, saw there was two Smiths on the flight and cancelled the second one thinking that there couldn’t possibly be more than one person with the same name in the world, lets hope the addled little darling never loses her job and ends up working for Muslim Air or (“what do you mean you cancelled all 80 Wongs?!”). Bint goes on then to say that her supervisor is going to see if they can fit me on the flight (which they eventually do, even though I’m sitting nowhere near any of my friends), and then sits there trying to engage me in small talk as if there doing me a favour.

Hindsight is twenty twenty and now I realise to reflect on the plane that my hassles were over with a degree of smugness was just too tempting for the Airport god to let slide.

Anyone that been on a long haul flight will be acquainted with the dry skin, bum sores and the unshakable feeling of discomfort that you get when your finally allowed off the plane, this accompanied with the lack of sleep, eight cans of Stella, and the disorientation of flying over several time zones makes the immigration process seem daunting when actually its not, its just a long queue with a stern man at the end. In fact me a Phil are just musing that Purgatory must be a lot like the American immigration hall, not too hot, not too cold, your not hungry or thirsty, there’s art on the walls but its not that interesting to look at. You’re just blandly waiting for your time to leave.

When it does come to my turn, he scans my fingers, nukes my eyes, swipes my passport and then tells me to “come this way”. Shit. On my way to the dreaded “back room” I manage to catch my course tutors’ eye he is now looking at me like it’s a holdall full of Uranium and four kilos of angels dust I have up my arse, god alone knows why I bothered catching his eye, like American immigration would give a monkeys dick about what a course tutor from a limey art university has to say.

The back room is an impossibly high cops front desk with three rows of incredibly uncomfortable plastic chairs, I note that there screwed into the ground, possibly to stop you flipping out and attacking them in frustration, but I made it a life rule to never assault a armed cop with crappy furniture, and its worked up until now. I’m instructed to sit down, which after seven hours of sitting down I don’t really fancy but I do it anyway and spend the next half an hour being ignored while I’m trying to:
1. Work out the name of the Kafka story that my life seems to have become and more importantly remember how it ends.
2. Look innocent.
3. Try not to imagine what having two latexed fingers slowly worked up my back passage by a bored looking male nurse would feel like.

After this time I remember that, while not being the nicest guy in the world, I haven’t actually done anything and simultaneously manage to forget I’m English enough to approach the desk and enquire what’s going on.

It turns out that someone with exactly the same name AND birth date is actually a wanted criminal in America, and after politely pointing out that handing your passport with this information on to an armed police officer is not the action of a desperate criminal on the run, they let me go. Without apologising.

I slip on my shades and walk out too forty or so people looking at me with a mixture of open contempt, pity and hushed awe, I got to be the world weary rock star after all.

Part2 soon

photo; me and phil in central park (thanks bobs)



Blogger Olulabelle ranted..

1/That is seven shades of funny.

2/The word Bint is horrible.

3/I <3 NY and am very jealous.

4/How are you?

5/Today's 'prove you are a real person by typing in these letters before you post your comment word' is aosgy. This is what I was after playing in the snow by myself today at 9 o'clock this morning in Cannon Hill park.

I made a really big 'Happy Birthday Daddy' in the centre of the park by walking around in the snow - the letters were about 2 metres high each. I am not sweet or fey enough to truly believe that he can see it from heaven, but I quite like the idea that another Daddy happened to go to the park on his birthday and got a nice surprise.

1:21 AM  

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