God I hate airports. The romance of air travel? You must be joking. I am in my nth queue of the evening.
The train was packed with commuters. I stood most of the way and had ample opportunity to observe how almost all my seated fellow travellers were plugged into a variety of electronic devices. Only one woman was knitting. Another read a Charlene Harris novel, folding the pages over with one hand while the other explored first her chin, then the hair above her right ear, and finally the hair above her left ear. She twisted in her seat, tying her legs into contorted knots.
Once at the airport, Gatwick, there was a rush for the shuttle to the North terminal, and then a half hour queue for bag drop. This is the first time I have not printed my boarding pass. Join the Twenty First Century, I thought and downloaded the airline’s app.
So the queue seemed a good time to open it up. You have not checked in, it told me. Check in is now closed. No staff patrolled the queue to assuage my fears. I remembered checking in, but could already imagine myself trailing meekly back to train station and home.
Fortunately the computer at bag drop showed I was right and even confirmed the row I remembered.
Security was a breeze; I didn’t even have to remove my belt, and my wrist didn’t set off the alarms.
But. The flight was delayed. Instead of leaving at 21.15, we are only boarding now. More standing in a corridor shuffling a few feet forward, inching slowly towards the plane.
I am seated now, and writing this as I queued has distracted me nicely. In a moment we shall be instructed to turn off our phones so I need to post straightaway. See you in Belfast.