I’m always amazed at just how comfortable those melted steel seats facing the giant windows out towards the planes on the runway of Dublin Airport become. The dissembling spine slide-back into your chair always makes the whole queuing business and the eager, ed scared or perpetually rushing travellers seem a bit foolish altogether. There they go: briefcase carriers, viagra tye-dye hippies, a lonely mother sadly spying the family just ahead of her in the queue – all sorts, always all sorts at Dublin airport.
Eventually I’m the last spectator and shake myself in my seat feeling a bit creepy – like the man who stays right to the end of the credits in the cinema. Sneakily shifting my body to hide my bag which is undoubtedly too big for Ryanair (bastards) hand luggage regulations, I get the “I’m a human, you’re a human” nod from the man checking the passports and walk to the plane wondering about the bald patch on the back of his head. (When will my day come?)
I try to find a young person to sit beside, but I’m the last on the plane and am forced to choose between a crying child and an old couple. Sitting down beside the couple I realise I am a horrible ageist and should from now on be forced to sit on my own as punishment.
The flight barely exists and before I can come up with an answer to the question of how to get my book from out of my bag (stored far, far down the aisle from my seat) without causing a scene sure to get me thrown off this god damn plane, we’ve landed.
Landing of course, is by no means the end of the full flying cinematic experience. With every flight you really need to factor in at least 15 minutes for himming and hawwing, doors to be opened, asses examined. I honestly think all airlines should force 10 pints of water down all their staffs’ throats just before take off and forbid them from using the toilet during the flight, that’d speed everything right up. Or perhaps their morning coffee could be spiked with speed.
Now I realise exactly why all those colourful and sad characters were queuing up back at the gate in Dublin. Before I know it the plane’s population is on its feet, dancing around to a soundless beat, dragging luggage from here and babies from there, searching for passports dropped on the floor of the horribly-cramped-to-increase-profit compartments. My bag is a good six rows down the aisle and the couple beside me are by now as completely desperate for fresh air as anyone and seem to be simply waiting for the most polite moment to throw me off my seat like Simba into the stampede.
I turn round and give them my best “no, please, I want to live” look, but I know that in their shoes I’d have pushed a young sod like me out on his face long ago (the heartless fellow that I am), so I’m certain that my plea has come out half hearted and that gives me no choice. I edge my seat belt off and cover my head with my hands as I start to stand up. I seriously consider crawling through the legs of a rather angry looking gentleman before noticing a divine split in the riot and slipping through, dashing the sweat from my brow. I grab my case and look back at the couple, receiving a fortifying look from the old man that says “one more second boy and you were gone”.
Two more minutes and I’m off the plane, surely only seconds before the oxygen supply runs out.
Now here I am In Stockholm, Sweden. I catch my breath and fill my lungs with the cool northern air. Time slows down as I touch the ground.