The Clampitts on tour part 1.

And so we were ready. We'd managed to pack everything, remember our passports and tickets and we'd arrived at the airport ready and raring to fly to Helsinki for my cousin's wedding. As we go into the check in hall we can hear a god almighty bellowing, people are cringing backwards from the strident tones echoing across the space, what on earth could it be? Ah yes, it's my auntie Sue, cheerfully informing my second cousin Rene (and the rest of Manchester Airport) that she's having terrible trouble with her sinusus, can't small or taste anything. Yep, it's my family, the full Northern contingent (minus my uncle Peter) and we're all off to Finland together.

So we get checked in and go through to security where we have the inevitable conversatoin about what does and doesn't class as liquid so what does and doesn't need to go into little clear plastic bags. Eventually we come to the conclusion that lipgloss IS liquid and in they go. The security man confiscates my bottled water and has a discussion with the husband about his aftershave which is eventually given back to him. He puts it into his backpack but crucially (as you will see) forgets to put it in a plastic bag. And off we go to x-ray.

Me and my belongings go through fine. The husband of course sets the machine off and he's taken to one side to have his shoes searched. As was Rachel whose flip flops seemed to have caused an undue amount of interest. Quite how much Semtex you can get into a pair of flip flops is a mystery to me but anyway, eventually they gave them back.

Our belongings come through the x ray machine. I pick up my stuff and then notice that a fierce looking woman with horrendous split ends and badly applied makeup is clutching the husband's rucksack. It's at this point that things go a bit pear shaped.

ME: Is there a problem with the bag?

HER: Is this your bag?

ME: No, it's my husband's bag, is there something wrong with it?

HER: We are extremely suspicious about why he has undeclared liquids in it. You've declared your liquids and he hasn't. I am VERY suspicious.

ME: Oh right. Fine.

HER (loudly): BUT IT ISN'T FINE IS IT MADAM??? It isn't fine AT ALL.

Me: Riiiiiiight. (beckons him over).

So she rummages about for a bit and then triumphantly pulls out a can of Sure for men deoderant, his aftershave and a pot of Oxy cleansing pads for skin.

HER: So? What's your explanation?

HIM: The lady in the other security room just checked the aftershave and gave it back to me.

HER: Well why, pray tell me, isn't it in a plastic bag? Everyone else manages the plastic bag thing, can you give me a good reason why you can't? I am MOST suspicious. And what about the other stuff?

ME: I didn't realise deoderant classed as liquid. And the pot isn't liquid, it's little skin cleaning pads.

HER (picking up the can and shaking it then injecting more sarcasm than I ever believed possible into her tone): Er what's this I hear in there, oh, listen, it's liquid.

ME (struggling manfully not to punch her between the eyes): Sorry, it didn't occur to me to class it as a liquid.

HER (glaring at me): Well excuse me but you've put all your liquids into a bag so you clearly know what a liquid is so you are making a hypocrisy of what you're saying aren't you? And that makes me suspicious.

By now I'm biting my lip, steam is beginning to issue from my ears and my grip on my temper is getting very tenuous.

ME: But I haven't got deoderant in my bag so I didnt think about it.

HER: I don't need and I'm not having any smart remarks from you so I suggest you cut it out.

ME: I wasn't being smart, I was just saying……..

HER (grabbing MY bag of stuff and his and grinning smugly): So now ALL of this is going to have to go through x ray and we'll just see what they allow you two smart mouths to keep.

She strides off to the x ray machine and you can lip read her saying "Can you believe the nerve of them" to the x ray guy. He is too thunderstruck to say anything and I'm too busy wrestling with my increasingly rising temper to comment.

She returns and resentfully hands me back my plastic bag of toiletries.

HER: They say you can have this back.

Mistakenly, I attempt to diffuse the atmosphere with humour.

ME: Ah go on, don't bin his aftershave, it was well expensive!

Her eyebrows shoot so far up her forehead that for a moment I suspect they are going to take off from the top of her head and circle the room. She turns an odd shade of purple and sends daggers from her eyes in my direction.


I resist the urge to inform her that there were only 2 guards handing out plastic bags and since they probably did an 8 hour shift it was unlikely that the airport employed 20 of them. I also don't make the blindingly obvious statement that I DID get it right, it was mu husband that didn't. Even through the fog of anger I realise that this wouldn't be the wisest course of action, especially as she seemed to have attended the Adolf Hitler school of Customer Service.

HER (smugly holding up the deoderant): Well, that’s gone for a start (chucks it in a bin wearing a huge grin) and so, you’ll no doubt be pleased to know, is THIS (and she chucks the cleansing pads in as well).

We both stare at the aftershave. It’s like a standoff at the Alamo. Eventually she picks it up.

HER (not looking at all pleased) The x ray operative says you can have this (thrusts it in my direction) back.

I grin. I can’t help it. The aftershave was the sticking point and despite the fact that this rat-faced little bitch with a power complex had tried her utmost, she’d failed to get it confiscated. She couldn’t resist a comeback.

HER (again, loading on the sarcasm): And next time, if you two could at least attempt to adhere to the rules??

ME: Well I’ll certainly try. But I’d hate to miss another encounter as pleasant as this one.

We walk away. Rat-Face glares after us. She has lost and she knows it. Despite her every provocation I haven’t lost my temper so she hasn’t been able to have me sat on by men with sub-machine guns, I have managed not to inform her that just because she hasn’t got laid since 1993 and she’ s in a shit-boring job, just because none of her colleagues will sit with her at lunch and she never learned how to apply makeup properly is no reason to be rude to people who are going on holiday.

And so on we proceed to the plane.


Next time: Learning some Finnish, a trip on a bus, a Finnish wedding and the lairiest drunk I’ve ever met in my life.



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10 Responses

  1. Urgh Stu was saying it's got even worse at the airport! I can't believe they wouldn't let you have the oxy pads though, that's not liquid! Also (whilst it's good for you) why were you allowed to keep the aftrshave when they wouldn't let you have the other liqiuds? That doesn't make sense.As Stu said, it's the attitude that is the worst bit about it.

  2. Her attitude was horrendous. Technically what she was saying was correct although how a millimetre of clear plastic makes a difference if you're carrying a bottle of explosives I don't know. The problem was how she said it, she was just so smug, self righteous and obnoxious. It took every ounce of control I had not to empty the aftershave all over her head.

  3. What a complete frigging jobs worth – obviously nothing else going on in her life so she gets her 'fun' from sticking it to people that she can have a little power over. I commend you for not losing your temper – I know myself too well and know that I would've totally lost it with the silly cow.

  4. [esto es genial]

  5. If I hadn't been going to a wedding I probably would have lost it but I knew that if I had to spend a day in the cells for assaulting a jobsworth I'd have missed Vanessa's big day!

  6. :O What the heck was her Problem???? That seems like lot of energy spent for no reason at all!

  7. My husband cracked a joke about a bomb in his briefcase while in line at the airport in Brisbane! Guess who got a nice investigation when his turn came! Why do people with little minds always seek those types of jobs out? If you don't like people don't enter a service industry I say!

  8. This is the only job she can get. Yep, I feel safe. I'm looking forward to taking bottled water away from my low level autistic son. That'll be a hoot, I'm sure.

  9. Ugh. Some people are just born assholes.

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