Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Musings at an airport

I can’t stop my hands trembling. For the past forty minutes I have been going through a fixed routine. Pacing swiftly, sitting down, lighting up a cigarette, extinguishing it untouched, getting up again, pacing again; I have exhausted this repertoire several times over. I tell myself that all this nervous activity is bound to attract attention, especially at an airport. This makes me even more nervous.

My nerves are not unjustified. I’m a dead man. Not literally, of course. Not yet, anyway. Though that has the potential for a nice sketch. Man walks into a police station and nervously says, ‘I’m a dead man’ and it turns out later he actually is a ghost. It’d be tough to keep that interesting until you hit the punch-line, but I’m sure it can be done. I’m smiling. What the hell is wrong with me? Well, a lack of concentration for one. My inability to organise my life is another. A few failed and spectacularly short relationships might point to the existence of a third, though maybe it’s just a symptom of the second.

There I go again, getting caught up in an analysis of my life. I need to focus. Otherwise, I’m not going to have much of a life left to screw up again. Perhaps I should eat something that will help me to think. A nice chocolate bar, that’s the solution. But which one though? I bet they have a very limited choice here. It’s a crummy little airport. I bet they don’t even have Galaxy, and if they do, it’s probably all melted and refrozen and out of shape. Forget the chocolate. I’m not going to have it. But how will I think without it? I’m going to die, without any attempt at escape, because this stupid airport shop doesn’t have a decent bar of Galaxy.

Hold on, am I really buying this? This isn’t some silly little exam that I can blame on bad weather and ill-health and explain away till next time. In all likelihood, there will be no next time. Just like that Eminem song.

Focus, man, focus! Let’s go over what has happened so far. Let’s try to assess the situation. Understand the gravity of the events. Do an analysis of the risk and loss involved, like those actuaries do. Or gamblers. I’m a smart guy. I can do this. Ok, lets start. I was ordered to take a flight from this airport - a simple enough task for most people. But then I’ve never considered myself to be a part of the rabble. I am a prince among men. A diamond in the rough, just like Aladdin. Have I teetered into sarcasm in my own mind? I don’t even know if I’m being serious when I’m talking to myself?

Does it matter if I’m special? Does it matter if any of us are? For fuck’s sake, will you FOCUS! Last thought – I like that phrase ‘fuck’s sake’.

So, returning to the little problem at hand. We chose this airport for its lack of security. Well that was a good call, not much security here. That guard looks like he’d let a cannon pass if its wheels didn’t squeak and disturb his slumber. But is that a plus or a negative? Am I more afraid of the authorities, or the people who hired me? Let’s just note this down as ‘inconclusive observation’.

Perhaps I should be drawing a conclusion. Perhaps that’s my problem; my ceaseless procrastination. Okay, here and now, lack of security, good or bad? Well, I could be shot right here and now, but for that to happen, they would need to know I’d screwed up. Unless they were following me, there’s no other way. Thank God I didn’t attend that bastard’s last-minute calls. He must’ve assumed I was already on the plane. He didn’t think too highly of me, but I don’t think he suspected I was this incompetent.

Seriously though, when did it come to this? I had such a promising childhood. My little quirks were always so endearing. Oops, turned up at school in his slippers, what a character! Who would’ve thought that all these events were eventually going to culminate in the monumental cock-up I have managed today. Missing the flight I was supposed to hi-jack. I mean, seriously!

How did a nice boy like me end up in a situation like this? A few stereotypical things come to mind. Lack of employment, lack of stability, lack of family. Lacks and lacks of everything. I am a lack-pati! Oh, what a corny! It’d be funnier if I was married… and Indian.

So, everything’s sorted, I can die in peace. You jackass!

Maybe it wasn’t a screw up. Maybe I subconsciously didn’t want to go through with it. Perhaps I’m a newly discovered Buddhist. I have generally avoided violence all my life. Well, at least when it was to be directed towards me. No, that’s not it. It was that damn taxi-driver driving as if he had all the time in the world, ‘Don’t worry sir, no need to rush’. The bastard broke down twice on the way.

I told them to get me a car to the airport, but no. Cheapskates, serves them right. What kind of an operation are they running anyway. I’m sure if I explained this to them, I could make a compelling case. Yes, I’ll tell them it was all their fault for not getting me a car. I’m sure they’d listen to that. Right before they castrate me.

O shit, it’s 5 o’clock already. I’ve been analysing the situation for ages. It’s now over an hour since the nice lady at the check-in counter told me she couldn’t let me on the plane. They’re probably expecting the news to break any minute now. I’d better run for it. I saw a bar on the way here. It's far enough away from the airport, I'll go there.

So now I’m in the bar, glued to the news on the television. How can I possibly get out of this? If only that plane would crash. Nobody would be any wiser about what happened. It wouldn’t be my fault. Everyone would think I’d died on-board. Please God, I’ve rarely asked you for anything. Please crash that plane. Show me you’re there. Show me you care about me. Crash that plane!

I’m feeling better now. Planes crash all the time, don’t they! I mean, I know the chances are usually remote, but I think God is definitely going to make up for everything that’s gone wrong with my life on this one. I can feel it!

Ah, this is going to be a story for the ages. I’ll tell my children all about it…when the time is right, of course. Or maybe, I’ll just go directly to my grandchildren and tell them.

Maybe someone will make a movie about this at some point. It’d probably be a comedy, the way this is turning out. Shit, that means whoever is playing me is going to be some sort of bungling comedian. Unless someone does it tastefully. That would take a real genius to capture the reality of the situation.

Hold on, everyone’s gone quiet. What’s that on the news? An aeroplane is in trouble. The pilot’s reported he can’t get his landing gear down. What’s the flight number? Dammit woman, we know the situation is tense at the airport, what the hell else were you expecting? Just tell me the damn flight number! Really, are you going to go on about how worried you are? Is that what’s important - how you feel? What about – o there it is. It can’t be… It is! It’s my flight! And it’s circling because it can’t land. God has come through for me.

But is this situation good enough? A plane crashes on the runway? Yea, I think it would at least get me off the hook. Who’s going to chase after a dead man?

They’re trying to get it down somehow. All the fire-trucks and ambulances have lined up. Little do they know that the divine force is not with them. But what if it lands? Well, I’ll be done for. But it can’t, can it? No - no way. My hands are shaking again. People around me are trying to calm me down - Don’t worry? It’ll land? I’ll keep my mouth shut. Okay, time for the final approach. The pilot’s bringing it in. Please don’t let it land. Please no.

It’s coming down lower... lower. I’ve put my glass down. This irritating guy next to me has his hand on my shoulder. I bet he can feel my heart racing. All the blood has rushed to my head. My ears are throbbing. The flight is about to touch down, and… Aargh. What’s wrong with these fuckers at the news channel. You’re supposed to be giving me the news as it happens, you bastards! They’ve switched to the studio. Okay, hold on. They’ll tell us soon enough.

Just have another drink. I can barely get the words out to order a cool glass of water. The barman’s put it down in front of me with a look of sympathy. Just gulp it down.

Here's the update! And…


God proving once again that He not only hates me, He enjoys torturing me as well. Probably shouldn’t have shouted out loud like that. The guys at the bar are staring at me though it doesn't really matter any more. Things are about to get much worse. It's time to get my bag and passport and disappear. If only I can make it to the airport.