An hour. A whole sodding hour I spent packing and repacking my bag before I left Vienna to catch my flight from Bratislava. I really don’t understand how I have exactly the same amount of stuff before every flight, and yet each time it seems to take up more and more space in my bag no matter how much squishing and squashing and rolling up I do.
Still, I got it all in (and, you see, part of the problem is that I can’t just be content with that if I’m to get it on as hand luggage – it needs not only to fit, but to fit with room to spare. Not bulging at the sides, as on the rather disastrous flight from Eindhoven to Stansted, which saw me removing items in a fluster whilst on the plane, being watched by a disapproving flight attendant and several middle-aged Cockney geezers who felt the need to tut at me, as I attempted to make the bag go into the overhead lockers). And then I put on all my extra jumpers, jackets etc. to go through security. Waddling along like a plump little barrel, I deposited my bag and outer jacket on the conveyor belt.
Sadly, it seems that the fatness of my face does not quite match the fatness of my body when I’m wearing 10 layers of clothing, and the Slovakian security woman, suspecting that my body was actually a long way beneath my clothes, indicated that I should remove more jackets. Sweating unpleasantly, I struggled out of a few more items and added them to the heap before going through to collect everything at the other side.
But no. Open, said the next security woman, indicating my bag. I groaned inwardly, realising what was about to happen. And yes – she went through all my stuff in a very half-hearted, disinterested manner, pulling all my tightly-crammed items of clothing loose, and then said OK. It’s not even like there was anything in there that shouldn’t have been (and once again I think of the Eindhoven incident, where I ended up flinging my shampoo etc. at someone and saying Take it! Keep it! Throw it away, I don’t care – I’m going to miss my flight!). She just fancied a nosey.
Fuming, I stared hopelessly at my bag, once so meticulously organised, now in a state of disarray. There was nothing for it but to try to cram everything in again. And now, as I sit at the gate waiting for my flight, I realise to my dismay that the bag is once again bulging at the sides, so I’ve another battle with an overhead locker to get through before I can relax for an hour.
I hate flying.