Thursday, 12 January 2012

Seasonal disaffection

I hate this time of year. You probably do too. You probably hate me for mentioning it. I am likewise annoyed.

Of course we should both remember ducklings and green shoots. There will be Morris dancers and other goofy expressions of folksy joy.

I normally combat January by eating a continuous stream of chocolate biscuits, however I just ran out of biscuits.

So now I'm going to try 'looking on the bright side', a seasonal disaffection technique I read about in an eye-blisteringly bad in-flight magazine.

Brightness item one: Airplane barf bags! Did you know they double as colouring books? They do! Kids love 'em, which means corresponding grown-ups are spared from airborne mental breakdown.

Give the kids some barf bags and pens and presto: they magically cease their campaign of abuse against business travelers worldwide.
Baby kangaroo sold separately.
Plus you get some nice artwork to send off to Grandma, who is contractually obligated to accept such masterpieces with grace and gloat over them without barfing (cheers, Mom).

Of course if Grandma loses composure and barfs mid-gloat, she will now be prepared.

On the topic of barfing and air travel, there is a man at the passport control queue of Heathrow airport who should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I don't know his real name, so I'll call him Super Heathrow Man. He is seven feet tall and probably a mutant.

Faced with a passport queue the length of Brazil last week, Ali reacted like a screaming cat held over a bathtub of lava. I shared her feeling, but managed to reign in my screaming.

Fellow travellers watched us with growing trepidation. The chickens were restless. A ticker-tape of 'I blame the parents' and 'kids these days' flickered across their eyeballs. Suddenly we found them closing in on us like a net.

In dashed Super Heathrow Man, parting the queue like Moses. He quashed a wimpy chorus of 'queue juuuuuumping!' with one swipe of his mighty hand. He scooped up our tired cat-lava family and spirited us away to the 'priority queue'.

Did you know such a thing exists at Heathrow? A passport 'priority queue' for banshee travelers? It does! Hallelujah!

How did Super Heathrow Man explain his kindness and bravery? With classic English modesty: "I hate the sound of screaming kids."

So next time you are in Heathrow, I suggest you morph into a hysterical lava-threatened cat and request to be carried off in the arms of Super Heathrow Man. If you are not sectioned, you will save yourself loads of time and bother.

And good luck with January. Remember green shoots and Morris dancers. Something to look forward to...if that's your thing.


  1. That screaming cat over a bathtub of lava has to be the best analogy I've heard in days. I'll be visiting that image as the 'happy place in my head' the next time i hear a shrill queue-stricken child

  2. Thanks Mei! I may likewise revert to a lava bathtub mentality mid-exam :(

  3. Hurray for Super Heathrowe Man. Anything human in the security line is a blessing!

  4. I did not know about that special queue at Heathrow. How fantastic!!

    Anyway, ducklings and green shoots, ducklings and green shoots...

  5. Humanity in the security line is nothing short of miraculous, right? Happy New Year to you and yours :)

  6. If you say it, they will come...ducklings and green shoots, ducklings and green shoots :)

  7. A human at passport control you say? Sorry, a superhuman? Brilliant. I love it when the passport master or mistress addresses your hysterical lava-threatened cat by name to make sure that the cat is actually yours and not one you pinched.

    ... duckings and tequila shots, duckings and tequila shots... erm I mean, ducklings and green shoots...

  8. Tequila shots! Genius! That'll get us through to Easter, hic, in no time.