I know the clocks went back in October but did “they” do something to steal our time as well- where do the seconds and minutes and hours go? I keep promising myself that today I will spend time to update my blog and then never get round to it. I haven’t had a chance to read blogs in ages and as for Facebook…what’s that? Or maybe finally while I wasn’t looking, responsible adulthood has crept up on me….
More train stories:
On the train from Liverpool Street to Stansted airport I was sitting beside these two couples, young and blonde and good-looking- poster children for the British dream- they obviously all worked in the City as evidenced by their rapid chatter interspersed with scrolling through their Blackberries and then making urgent, rapid-fire calls to the office, talking about this deal and that deal and closing…. I watch them fascinated and hear one of them explain to the person at the other end that he is going to cheese-eating, wine-drinking surrender monkey country for the weekend….later I see them in the queue for the check in for the Ryanair flight to Bergerac….
Who on earth chose the lurid yellow and bright blue uniform of the Ryanair staff? Yes I know it’s a budget airline and they need to keep costs down but cheap materials also come in muted colours, don’t they. I’m tempted to whip on the sunglasses at the glare of the uniforms so reminiscent of the school uniforms in a poor village school in Nigeria…
I approach the security gate, backpack secured and book in hand and am not really paying attention when it gets to my turn. I unsling the backpack and put it through the X ray machine and then emerge at the other end. I have forgotten my toothpaste in the backpack which means it is pulled out of the queue for special checks in these days of no-liquids, no-gel flying. I am still not payng full attention as the young Asian woman explains that she is going to swipe the backpack for explosives. She is quite young- barely twenty and I imagine that it is first time nerves that make her swipe my bag again and again. By the third time, I am paying more attention and she is looking more flustered. Suddenly I see her stop and run to an older, more senior- looking woman, who then calls the attention of HER boss, a middle aged man who comes to me and informs me that my bag has tested positive for traces of explosives. I reel as I expect him to say it’s just a joke but when I look up, he’s deadly serious.
He runs off a series of questions- how long have I owned the backpack, where have I taken it and so on and so on….he then whips out a form and asks to take my details, having decided that the positive test may have come from one of the places that I have taken my bag to in the last week. Apparently some chemicals used in everyday life can give positive results. Giving my name, address and contact details, I fear that they will stop me from flying but he waves me through. Nevertheless I worry- will my name now enter some database? What if some nutter does blow up the plane, will I then be blamed post-humously? As if it would matter then.
Landing in Bergerac at the tiny airport, I make the immigration officer’s day when he finally gets to use his stamp. Used to waving EU citizens through, he waves me through as well, before realizing that my passport is green not red. He holds up the queue as he flicks through my passport for the right visa and then with aplomb marches to his desk, where he unleashes his heavy stamp on to my passport with a gusto that suggests that he does not get to do this very often…
Somehow, it seems as if not very much news is coming out of Nigeria, or perhaps it’s my mood, but it seems as if things are settling into a more quiet, more sedate pace…which is probably a good sign.
There’s a new edition of Farafina magazine out and following closely on Helon Habila’s successful book tour, Chika Unigwe, visitor on this blog from time to time, begins a Nigerian book tour to promote the publication of her first novel ,The Phoenix