It’s crazy, the flight time from Jersey. You’ve landed before you take off. I was in full airhead mode though yesterday evening. I had to go back out of security twice, once to drop off my hire car key and once to get the key back and use it to retrieve my mobile phone holder from the car. Idiot. It’s a good one. I’d rather not lose it. But anything is better than the last time I tried to leave Jersey.

As the plane took off I saw the sea reflecting a glorious sunset through the shoals and onto the beaches.


45 minutes later I was back in the smoke, elbowing people in a shuttle bus at Gatwick. Security was so quick and painless that I was through it before I even remembered that I had a checked bag that I should have collected. Fuck. I tried to go back through the security  doors but they dressed me down with red lights and a recorded warning. There were no staff there, so I waved at a security camera for a bit. Nope. Just got ignored. Some guy eating a donut says “Look at that prat.”

I see some security staff with coffee and explain the situation. I have to go to departures and talk with the airline. So I do, and thankfully I get someone very helpful. She takes me back through security, all the x-rays again.

Those security guys dehumanise you in the course of their jobs almost immediately. They have to I guess. I’m doing it to them. You are just a pair of steel capped boots, or a belt buckle, or a jacket that’s still on. Even if you ask them a question they respond from habit, eyes flicking over you, more interested in that lump in your shirt than the words you speak. One guy in Jersey said the same thing to me three times back to back as if I were three different people. “It’s just a random bomb check sir, nothing personal, it’s just a random bomb check sir, nothing personal, it’s just a random bomb check sir, nothing personal.” I gently poked it. “Oh so you’re checking for explosives are you?” And sure enough “It’s just a random bomb check sir, nothing personal.” I thought about “But how come I was selected?” But I that would be cruel. And these people can make your life hell if they want to.

Anyway I get through security and start to go towards the carousel but she stops me. Now I’m escorted, someone else has to get the bag off the carousel, apparently. We go to Customer Service, and thankfully, miraculously, against this very situation I TOOK A PHOTO OF MY BAG BEFORE CHECKING IT. The sardonic woman at customer service looks at the photo and disappears. Ten minutes later she’s back with my bag. I was expecting that to take hours. I am introduced to the man in “goods to declare” who was watching me try to get back in earlier I expect. That way he doesn’t think I’m up to no good and stick his fingers up my bottom in a horrible little striplit dungeon. I go back through the door that shouted at me and I’m heading to the trains. London. And a day of invigilating. Now I’m off to see an old friend. And probably have wine. Unless I’m strong.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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