Sprinting through Terminal 3 of Heathrow, I was a man on a mission. As I ducked and weaved out of slow walking people who I’d like to punch in the back of their head, I suddenly got stopped by the London Underground Ticket Attendant at the barrier. My ticket wouldn’t let me through. Or rather, it wasn’t mine.
As I queued up in Kings Cross to top up my Oyster Card for tube travel after a few beers with Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds (he totally looks like David Tennant – I now have a man crush on him), we were given free tickets by a couple of European guys. Relishing our luck we jumped aboard on the tube to Heathrow. I was slightly late. Neil and I were gabbing too much in O’Neills.
Seeing off Neil at one of the stops after an emotional ‘see you later‘, I went full steam ahead to Heathrow. It would prove to be what felt like the longest part of my journey and also the reason why I was on a mission in the terminal. Remember those beers? They went straight through me and I was literally gasping for the toilet. 10 stops I had to wait and I could have got off at any stop but I was late and might miss my check in. So on I held. Legs shaking as I gripped a rail and furiously thinking of dry deserts, I spied an empty bottle…my resolve weakened and I ignored it. It was very very very hard to hold on. Finally, the tube pulled into terminal 3 and I sprinted out looking for the man’s stick figure to show me where I would get the best feeling in the world.
Bingo! It was beyond the ticket barrier, I put my ticket through. Access denied, see ticket attendant, who promptly came. He looked at my ticket so slow, I swear I was about to do the modern version of Noah’s flood. He told me I had a ticket just for zone 1 and 2. And I was in zone 6. Bollocks. I simply danced on the spot and told him I really really really need the toilet. He must have seen the sheer desperation in my eyes and saved me through. I could have kissed him. Rushed into the toilet and my belt got stuck. Argh! But finally, oh sweet mother of sweet release of mercy! All that effort had brought me out in a sweat, my heart pounding and my mind frazzled.
Checking through check in (I was on time), I went through the fast track security check in but made sure they were aware of my cochlear implant. For those who don’t know, security scanners can literally disable a setting on the external processor and it is advised that CI users undergo a pat down check. A gorgeous female guard was on hand…but for females only. I had the sweating man with extra sweaty hands pat down check. He stuck his thumb round the inside of my shorts and I gave a whoop!
After all that running around and getting through barriers, I found myself pacing around duty free seemingly been passed on the sweating sickness. I told myself to snap out of it, get a meal and relax. Only after I discreetly sprayed loads of aftershave as I basically well…smelled. And I didn’t want to offend my fellow plane passengers.
Grabbing a sandwich, I kicked back by the gate and it suddenly hit. I felt so disorientated, so lethargic to the point of passing out. All that planning and running around had certainly took it out of me. What to do? I suddenly felt very daunted about what I was doing and I did speak out to myself ‘what the hell am I doing?!‘. Aren’t I a stupid fool to leave a Job that paid well and here I am gallivanting off the world spending my hard earned money.
Well, there was No time to lose, the gate was opening and I wanted first dibs on seats should there be any spare. But wait, who was that? A messenger from a higher Being that I should go on my travels definitely? His goatee quivered as I clocked him round the corner. With his family, he was the one and only Charley Boorman. And he’s gonna be on my flight. Now if that wasn’t a sign, well what the heck. It’s time to travel!
Can’t believe you saw Charlie Boorman!
I always get that feeling just before I leave, ‘Argh, what the hell am I doing?’ but it always wears off just before I get on the plane.
Hope you had a safe flight and looking forward to reading more!
Brilliantly written, especially the sheer desperation to use the loo. Been there more times than I care to remember (had a brain haemorrhage in 2003 and need to stay hydrated to keep the headaches away). Got to love LU staff.