Sunday, August 21, 2005

Of broken toenails and airports I deslike

There is something wrong with the fact of my posting now.

The time's off. So is the fact that Im in front of a computer, in Lewis & Clark.

The flight I was supposed to be on is well on its way to Providence, Rhode Island. And I can only ask myself what providence or ill karma it was that has been responsible for the past 12 hours.

The suitcases wouldnt close. One because it is temperamental, and the other because some wise people in NY decided to extract cds from my case without asking for the key first. Then?

Then, the combination was forgotten. New suitcases bought-- Old ones opened by rolling them down the stairs, a feat which brought that fleeting sense human victory over the elements, and a soft rain of toothbrushes, a copy of Hawking's brief history and fresh white unmentionables over the landing.

New cases packed... small toe nail unsurgically removed due to an evil bump against the leg of a bed from hell. Curses and medical solutions muttered... more clothes stuffed into waiting gaping holes.

Airport departed for at 4:15am. One km down the road, I realize I had left my ipod back in the dorm.

Shame of a mother for a forgotten toddler... Humayun [or was it jahangir?]'s Deccan albatross. The one material thing that accompanies me everywhere, forgotten? Another fellow passenger had an earlier flight which could be missed.

Thus note the irony: Us two wanderers travelling to Rhode Island checked in, and waited at the wrong point for said ipod to return on the second airport trip of the day. Sun rose, cold and chilly like a hostess who doesnt care for your choice of footwear for her soiree... Error rectified, our death-rattle moments before departure and thus-spelled closed gates were eaten by airport security.

They have a theory on domestic flights. If you have a state i.d, use it. Don't show them your passport, if you're not white and are from the 'Other' hemisphere. That means your bags will be checked.

Know what security check is like inside America?

myth: its the worst at Kennedy international airport, in NYC.

Shattering thereof: Bollocks. Kennedy airport staff do not pretend security check is a chapter in Mother Goose. They do their job, then move you on. And stop you only if you speak in an aggressively different language or if you come from country belonging to a list known for... excitement.

At security here, you take off your shoes, your jacket, your belt, your toupe. This has been done before.
You then wait while people address you with "buddy" or "honey" depending on your obvious physical preference and gender preference, whichever is the more obvious.

You walk through an x-ray boothand then are told to stand on the outline of two footprints, watching some security pig go through the... erm.. white unmentionables. Hands parallel to floor, palms facing upwards. Electro-magnetic device used to discover all the rivets on my jeans.

Of course this is common to the country. But what bugged me was the sesame street facade, the "how are ya? hands up straight please" bit.

Dont act like you're giving me a lollipop, bub. You just made me miss my plane. Made Zubeida miss it too. And you dont apologize: you feel justified in this ordering of the sheep ranks.

PDX is a great airport till security. Gift shopping, food... Charles de Gaulle has no atmosphere at all: there, escalators dont work, the huge glass walls make sure the inside feels as freezy as the outside. Grey paint peels of the celing, and the walls are the white of a sanotorium.In the midst of this stark sparsness, there is the cheese and wine boutique... christian dior...Saint Laurent. There are people, eating walking laughing taling. There are lines, and certain people are asked to take their shoes off.

Im not sure I like airport atmosphere.

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