Sweden II – The Return of the Crazy Englishman

On the way to the station She went through the usual litany.  "Have you got your passport?  Have you got your medicine?  Have you got your phone?"  Et cetera.  I reply with my usual tired "Yes, Dear."

I arrived at Heathrow at about 16:15 for an 18:00 flight.  No worries.  I have the annoying compulsion to be 2 hours early rather than 5 minutes late.  As I join the queue for the check-in I take the ticket from my pocket.  My passport is not with it.  I check my other pocket.  Nothing.  A sick feeling hits my stomach.

I move out of the queue.  Run through all my pockets.  Check the pockets in my bag.  I switch the phone on, and as it boots up I move to an out-of-the-way spot.  I re-check every pocket.  The pixies of lost things haven’t put it in any of them since I checked them 2 minutes earlier.

I phone home.  Maybe if She drives like a maniac, she can get my passport to me before the flight.  I had placed all my documents etc on top of the tv.  How could I have left my passport behind?  She cannot find it.  It’s not on the tv.  I ask Her to keep looking and phone me if she finds it.

In the mean time I search my bag, top to bottom.  It doesn’t take long to find no passport.

There’s an information desk.  I explain to the nice lady there that I am an idot that has left his passport at home.  Was there any way I can get an emergency one?  No, of course not.  How far away do I live?  Too far. 

Once, for reasons unknown, some security person at an airport somewhere had placed a small salmon-coloured circular sticker on the corner of my passport cover.  I had never bothered to remove it.  Maybe it marked me as an international jet-setter, or terrorist.  Who’s to know?

Suddenly I spot a British passport on this woman’s desk.  It has a small salmon-coloured sticker in the corner.  I point.  "That’s it.  That’s my passport!"  She checks my photo.  Despite having shaved my beard off, my rugged good looks shine through.  I must have dropped it.

Shaking with relief, I realise I am wet with sweat.  Quick!  Check in before I lose anything else.  I confess my idiocy to Er Indoors whilst I wait in line.

The check-in woman seems to sense my frayed nerves.  "Aisle or window?"

"Aisle, please.  It gives me a chance to stretch my legs out."

"I’ll put you by the emergency exit.  There’s more leg room there."

Angels tread this Earth in Scandinavian Airline uniforms.

She tries to print my boarding pass.  It jams in the machine.  She wheels it out from under the desk and opens it up.  She jiggles something inside.  She bins the first attempt and tries again.  This time it won’t even enter the slot.  The machine chews the end as she tries to force it.  Out the machine comes again.  Innards exposed.  More jiggling.  She doesn’t bother to close the machine this time.  A third boarding pass is mangled.

Somehow I feel responsible.  My yin is out of phase with my yang.  I have brought bad karma down on myself and all the machinery around me.  I just know the security barrier will ring all the terrorist bells when I walk through if I don’t balance the cosmos.

Finally I have the boarding pass.  I triple-check every piece of documentation.  Into one of the mall shops.  Small box of Belgian chocs in hand I go back down to information.  The lovely passport supplier is just changing shift.  I catch her as she leaves.

"Some slight compensation for having to deal with eejits like me."

She seemed genuinely thrilled, though I suspect it is nothing like the relief and joy that has flooded me.  Should I flirt with her?  No, that would be gilding the lily, and the dissapointment she would endure when I jetted off would be poor treatment.

The flight was delayed a little, but it was uneventful.  No free refreshments on the plane.  Clever me fitting all my week’s gear into a bag small enough to carry on (known as the Adare Strategum).  Straight out of the airport into a taxi.  No queue.

This time my hotel is in the same building as Dell.  It is large.  I arrive just too late for dinner, but they can do a sandwich as room service.  My room is 2009.  Imagine if they had the American room-numbering system, and my room was actually 20 storeys up.

"Your room is on the 20th floor.  Use lift 3 or 4.  The others don’t go that high"

But it is worth the breathing apparatus.  I have a suite.  Not a room.  A suite!  I check the tv.  It says ‘Welcome Mr Simms’.  So this is my suite.  It has 2 tv’s and a vcr.  One of the bathrooms (why yes, doesn’t everybody have two bathrooms?) is larger than my kitchen at home.  It has an olympic-size bath.  I don’t know which of the 4 beds to sleep in.  It’s so big I misplaced the tv remote control for 5 minutes.

I somehow feel that, at least until the mistake is discoverd, I have Arrived.


About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

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