Airports. What can I say? I hate them. I can honestly say I have never met anyone who has recounted what a fabulous time they had in the airport the other day. The hubby and I argue in airports, it’s what we do. I don’t think there has been one trip together that we haven’t, it’s kind of traditional now. The first time it was because I was terrified. We took our first holiday together a few short months after we met. I had never flown before and frankly would have preferred to walk however long that might have taken. So I did the only possible thing. Wine. And cigarettes. My friend who was with us, and equally nervous, helped me in my endeavour. Our respective men folk were unimpressed especially when we cleared off for a last drag just as they were calling the flight. It never really progressed from there. We do our best to find some handy bone of contention on each flight now. It’s not hard with six kids in tow and passes the time in the departure lounge.
Frequent flyer points
Of course living over here I’m used to flying now reasonably regularly and manage to contain the urge to get messy before the flight. I got used to it the hard way. My mum has dementia and has no idea what day it is most days bless her although to all intents and purposes she sounds fine as long as the conversation is short. For various reasons I had to fly home and bring her over here for a few weeks. I had to bring the baby with me as she was only very small. It was a task in itself actually getting to the airport but that’s where the fun began. Sweaty and harassed, baby hanging off hip and mum at my side I presented myself at the check in desk at Manchester. It was packed and chaotic so the girls were keen to get us all through and called mum to the next desk. Well she can present a passport well enough I thought, so handed it across. Big mistake. Huge. I finished up checking in while simultaneously trying to strap Hollie in the pram. Having retrieved my passport I glanced across at mum.
I want my mummy!!
Only she wasn’t there. Vanished, disappeared, vamoosed, beamed up by Scottie. Oh my bloody good God!!! What ?? Wild eyed, still sweaty from the exertions of getting through the airport and probably looking like a potential highjacker by now I shot across to the poor check in girl and screamed in her face “WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOTHER???” She must have thought I had some weird Freudian mother attachment complex shouting for my mummy in the middle of the airport age 38 . Somewhat bemused she informed me that she had asked where the toilet was and they had given her directions which she had duly followed. Yea because that was gonna happen. On a bad day she had difficulty locating the loo in her own house so what the hell chance did she stand in a hectic international airport. “But she’s……, you don’t understand…., she can’t….. Oh for God’s sake forget it, WHICH TOILET DID YOU SEND HER TO?” I screeched. By this point I think they were on the verge of calling security and time was of the essence so off I shot in the direction she was pointing. Bouncing Hollie in front of me in the pushchair, dragging hand luggage behind, me red face and fighting hysteria I set about asking everyone I passed if they had seen an old lady in a pink coat passing by. Hysteria was clearly emerging victorious by this point as most of them gave me a wide berth with a rather anxious look in their eye.
Is there anybody in there?
I reached the toilet and realised there were two, one at either end of a busy concourse. I stood there in vain desperately hoping for divine inspiration. If I went in one I could well miss her coming out of the other and then she would be lost forever. Swallowed up in the cruel metropolis that was Manchester airport as it now seemed to me in my state of abject fear. Oh my good God, another thought flashed across my brain. What if she left the airport? Wild images of my elderly mother prostituting herself on the streets of Manchester and ending up a crack whore at the age of 75 ran amok in my panic addled brain. Following my instinct I executed a smart hand brake turn with the pushchair and hurtled to the left. I shot into the loo and bellowed “MUM????” at the top of my lungs causing most of the women in the queue to leap a foot in the air. Not a wise move with a queue of women with full bladders I guess by hey I was past caring. “MUM IT’S ME, ARE YOU IN HERE????” I balled again just for good measure. Those in the queue who had retained bladder control by this point probably lost it as I deftly pierced their ear drums once again. No response. Out I shot again and powered along the concourse mentally bailing my mother out of the local nick for soliciting all the way. And there she was bless her. Happily meandering along towards the loo, not a care in the world. “Oh, hello darling, where on earth have you been, I was getting worried you’d got lost? “she greeted me . “You don’t know where the loo is around here do you?”
Where she’d actually been for the last half hour I guess we’ll never know. She wasn’t telling!
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