Monday, 10 May 2010

The dumbest thing I have done this month

I am pleased to say that not a day goes by where something notable doesn’t happen. Quite often it is something that occurs “in my orbit” and it gives me another anecdote to pull out of the hat when I find myself in one of those situations where everyone at the party/meal/BBQ has run out of things to say.

Once in a while, the anecdote involves me directly.

Today was such a day.

I had to catch a plane to Glasgow this afternoon to deliver a Silverlight 4 course and arrived at Manchester airport in good time.

As soon as I had checked in, I proceeded to security.

Now I seem to be catching an average of two planes per week at the moment (one there, one back) and have a routine worked out.

Step 1

"No nothing to check in. Just carry on"

"Yes I packed the bags myself"

"No, no one could have interfered with it"

"No, no one has asked me to carry something for them"

Step 2

Boarding card ready to present prior to going through to security.

Now this varies from airport to airport but is quite common. So I never put away my boarding card when I receive it at check in because I know someone will ask for it within 1-2 minutes.

This is my first opportunity for a tut as I am guaranteed to be kept from my pre-flight drink by countless Muppets who cannot find the boarding card that they were just handed.

Step 3

Walk past the "Muppet screening zone" where every other person is handing over bottles of water, coke etc. because they "didn't realise" that you couldn't carry liquid onto aircraft. How long is it since Richard Reid the infamous shoe bomber, 7/8 years?

I try to walk past. It can be a struggle because there will be a bunch of Muppets (often 3 generations) blocking the corridor insisting on drinking every drop of their 90 pence bottle of water AFTER moaning at the attendant for a minute first.

In fact I saw a guy in Belgium hand over his bottle and then return a minute later to say that "actually, I have decided to drink it as I am thirsty" and make the attendant fetch his bottle out of the bin then drink it.

Step 4

The penultimate Muppet phase (the last one is getting to the gate on time. Don't get me started!).

Security. If anything is going to get my blood boiling, it's the security check. Now I appreciate (sort of) that the liquid thing is kind of new. i.e. THIS CENTURY But come on. EVERYONE must know how security works!

You take off anything that might buzz. i.e. metal. So that's watches, mobiles, belts, change, box cutter, flick knife etc. They even have videos as you snake towards your turn showing you what to do.

Incidentally, I spotted a mistake in the video at Brussels airport the other week. The guy doesn't take off his belt and passes through the barrier without a problem. I can forgive Belgium this though because they do make the BEST Croissant I have EVER tasted!

So there I am snaking towards the scanner and I'm at 40 feet and remove my loose change (if I have any) and place in the right hip pocket of my jacket.

At 30 feet, I have removed my watch and placed it into my left jacket pocket.

At 20 feet I am removing my belt and then coiling it one handed (my gunslinger moment) and then slipping it into my left jacket pocket.

At 10 feet I shrug off my jacket.

In fact, if you didn't have to remove laptops from their bags I would be completely ready by the time I got to the front.

Believe me, I have practiced removing a laptop from it's bag whilst queuing and carrying an overnight bag and over arm jacket. It can't be done.

So it's my turn, I put my gear in the trays and quickly liberate my laptop from it's bag and then I finally do a quick self pat down in case I have missed something.

Today, I have navigated through more than my fair share of Muppets and am feeling particularly superior. I am doing my final pat down. What do I find in my back pocket?

A 5 inch nail!
Imagine my surprise. I quickly replay the last 24 hours. And remember that yesterday I was finishing off a run of post and rail fencing on the farm and must have left a single nail hiding in my rear jeans pocket.

What a Muppet!

So I quickly say. "Oops. I was doing some DIY earlier. Sorry about that. Here. Please take this nail."

So that has to be the dumbest thing I have done all month. Actually, the dumbest all year.

In fact, May appears to be my "Month of the Muppet" as I did something particularly stupid last May.

By the way. I must tell you this. I passed through security and then started reconstructing Philip Stirpe and was just replacing my watch when the lady passed my nail towards me and said "This is yours".



See you soon

Phil Stirpé
"I don't do average!"


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