Mayflies, now there’s an interesting phenomenon, born into adulthood and thrown out into a world full of promise and apparent wonder. Only by the same force of nature to collapse limply to the earth anywhere between two or three days to thirty minutes later. This, however, is not the thing that interests me, what stimulates my very selective interest is that in this exceedingly brief period of time the mayfly will skip adolescence, discover the world, find a mate, have sex possibly multiple times , grow old and then eventually shuffle off the face of the earth. In short, a bug roughly the length of the nail on my middle finger does more living in a day than I have in the thirty years since my twenties.
Now ninety-nine percent of people would take that thought and most likely find it terminally depressing. To my mind it is a thought which depending on your response is very telling of the kind of person you are. My own personal opinion on this momentary drain of my attention is that it may be fine for a bug to fly about learning, loving, pro-creating and dying but I much prefer a semi-decent book and a hot cup of tea. I spend my whole day shepherding Imbecilic, semi-literate moronic hordes of people to their chosen destination in which to develop that particular level of skin pigmentation that will bring them a step closer to the oh so desirable melanoma that is an inevitable part of the modern package holiday. This task results in my temperament towards my fellow human being upon return to my modest suburban home being rather on the arse end of uncaring.
“Passengers for flight EZ451 to Dubai, proceed to gate 4 your flight is now boarding.” Yes, I am that memorable monotone voice telling you to stop perusing the duty-free and get on your damn plane at Glasgow international airport. A thrilling and fulfilling career I’m sure you will agree. I spend my whole day trying to sound as passive and uninterested as I possibly can, while at the same time attempting to suggest to the bright orange party girl situated vacantly, nowhere near her boarding plane, that she may want to stop staring at the tax-free liver failure on offer in one of our many fine liquor establishments and move her scantily clad, fake-tanned self towards the bloody plane.
Needless to say, in my line of work you see some real characters. Despite their apparent thick skulled individuality, rarely do I see passers by fall outside one of four core groupings. You may accuse me of stereotyping but next time you think you can stomach a visit to your local airport keep an eye out for each of these distinctive groups.
Group one is perhaps the least intrusive of the four, a fairly stress free section of the holiday horde, if a bit dozy and clueless at times. I am of course talking about the “Old Couples”. These aged jet-setters are progressing through the autumnal years of their life and have discovered in a short sharp burst of realisation, that they haven’t really ‘been’ anywhere but thanks to the excellent service that we provide here at Glasgow International they can live out their retirement in wonderfully exotic drains on the resources of the gullible, aging majority who believe that sitting around arguing with each other and moaning about the current state of affairs at home, in Barbados, will be infinitely more entertaining than doing so from the comfort of one’s own home.
In the airport you will most generally find this species of traveller hovering around the gates anxiously looking at each one before turning to their respective spouses and subsequently to the nearest member of staff before deciding that they have indeed arrived at the correct departure area, only to moments later discover that they’ve forgotten to buy that beloved grandchild a token of appreciation from a nearby WHSmith and completely erase the location of the correct gate from their increasingly vacant minds. But, for all this doziness the old couples will generally find their way to the gate on time (with assistance from airport staff) and create minimal fuss for myself in my booth.
Group number two is the ever popular ‘family holiday’ this particular segment of the wave of holiday-goers is more trouble than our first grouping, but still in essence fairly harmless. This is certainly the most varied group of the four, depending on the number of sprogs in the equation, the stress which is caused to myself and the airport staff rises considerably. If there is but one child then things are inclined to go smoothly for me, for, unless there is an extreme lapse of attention, memory or indeed sanity on the part of the parents and child, everything will have been remembered, passports will be in bags, toys and other assorted hand luggage will be both legal and remembered and those boarding passes will be safely situated in a pocket or hand. Logic entails however, that if the number of children is to rise to shall we say... 3 or 4, then problems begin to arise.
Daddy will have neglected to remember little Mary’s favourite doll or mum will have let teenage john (who nobody ever understands) ‘s iPod or a device of equal social and conversational detachment slip her memory and all hell will break loose among the family unit. Mary will let flow the seas of tears which she has stored away for just such an occasion as the temporary loss of such a prized possession, John will begin to hurtle into a mid-adolescent rage at how little everyone cares about him and how if only he had some sort of musical outlet to take him away from his terrible family who buy him iPods and take him away on all expenses paid trips around the world, Mum will at this point come to the realisation that the boarding passes are in the car and the passports in the suitcase, These events will in turn cause Daddy’s already simmering temper to rise to dangerous levels and provoke the “The whole holiday is ruined” rant or one of equal exaggeration. This is when the staff are troubled and I am required to ask them to hurry up and find the damned paperwork to get on the plane. Although such spectacular displays are rare, you are greeted with such a situation every once in a while and you certainly do not relish the prospect of it happening again.
Group 3 is the least stressful of the four, there is no need for me to hurry them to their flight as they seem to be quite able to hurry themselves without my help. This group is what I like to call the “I decide businessman” and my problem with this group is not that they ignore my boarding calls or that they forget passports etc no, no, no, my problem here is that they are in such a hurry to get to their terribly important meeting in Milan or Genoa or some other Italian fashion hotpot, equally pretentious in nature that they completely ignore the scheduled time for the plane to board and take-off, thinking they can decide the aircraft has to leave when they fancy hopping on.
When they are rejected on the grounds that the plane leaves when the pilot is ready and not when they become too impatient to sit among the general public they assure the airline workers that they will be hearing about this from the upper echelons of airport management then proceed to swagger around the entrance to the gate using their Gucci pin-striped suits and fake rolex watches to highlight their disinterest in anyone but themselves and their own all too important mission abroad. This group treat a flight abroad in exactly the same way as they would a bus ride to the centre of a nearby town, they take no interest that they are flying thousands of feet in the air at breakneck speeds, from looking at them you would think this was just another inconvenience they have to endure before finally reaching the destination that is so imperative they reach with the greatest and most immediate haste.
The last portion of the holiday horde is one which causes me no end of grief everyday throughout the summer, one which I am on the frontlines against daily. This brightly dressed, loud mouthed, inarticulate mob are the ‘party posse’. They donder into the airport, sometimes intoxicated, always shouting, singing, laughing and being downright inconsiderate to every member of staff including myself. Marching around being as completely obstructive to the smooth running of the airport as is possible.
Their first port of call upon entering the departure lounge is of course the duty-free, they swarm to this area like a moth to a light bulb and gaze in amazement at the minute reduction in price of all of their favourite means of self-destruction. They stand around this section of the airport recounting stories of past evenings and holidays of debauchery, boasting that they and only they have ever been in such a dazed and drunken stupor brought on by dangerous amounts of unhealthy burning liquids and various combinations of paper, plant and powder. They have absolutely no second thoughts when placing their passports and boarding passes in the most inconvenient places while they take a gander at the alcohol, this prompts a swift dismissal of all information regarding boarding times and take-off. This leaves me with the always entertaining task of coaxing the neon clad wonders of the party clan away from their fireside tales concerning varying stages of inebriation and towards the plane on which they will create a new and equally pointless, disrespectful set of stories regarding nights gone by. This is quite a task for one lacking the sunny disposition required to deal with these morons such as myself, added to which I swear if I ever hear the line “We’re going to Ibiza” sung in my immediate company lord help the fool who utters the dreaded words. These people ware my patience thin and sometimes miss their holiday completely due to their own intense level of density and trust me I will not lose any sleep over their loss of another drunken experience.
These four are the kind people I deal with on a daily basis, and some people actually have the gall to ask me why I choose to live alone in my own company! I better start heading to my car if I want to miss the rush hour traffic on the way home. I’ll let the night guy take over from here, would you care to come back to continue this conversation at my house over a hot cup of tea? No it’s not a problem, I quite enjoy your company my friend! Here’s my car. Yes I drive a Reliant Robin, spare me the ridicule while I rev it up. The old girl has fire in her yet! There we go, we’re on our way. Don’t you find it strange how instead of living every day to it’s fullest and seizing the moment as they profess to, these holiday jet-setters spend all day every day throughout the year bored stiff working themselves to the bone. spending hours on social networking sites, which ironically are possibly the least social inventions I have ever come across. Only to blow all of their hard earned cash on one week in a sun battered, culturally dead location of their choice? I’ve always found that very odd, that they would with one hand tell you to live every day as if it were your last while on the other hand wasting every day of their lives purely for respite once a year! You do find that strange? Glad to hear that someone agrees with me for once! Here we are! my very own slice of heaven. The only place I get some peace for longer than five minutes and that’s the truth! Let me get the door, the hinges are knackered and the man who’s supposed to be repairing them is ironically enough, on holiday! There we go, there’s an art to opening that door these days. I dread the day where it becomes such an art I haven’t got the skill to do it! Oh look here, I have some post, I do feel that the wonder of receiving a letter is somewhat lost to the people of today’s ‘digital age’ don’t you? Wait a second while I get on my reading glasses. Ah found them! Now, to business. Well blow me down! Of all the things that could come through that letterbox this is certainly the least expected! I've won an all expenses paid trip! to the Bahamas no less!
Well I do very much think that I deserve a holiday, don’t you?