Day Fifty Nine: Eduardo’s Road To Fitness

“Have you packed these bags by yourself?”

She wore a plastic smile as she asked me the question.  I felt like saying “No actually I had a team of small robots helping me.  They were built using alien technology and run on nuclear fusion but contain a number of gel batteries for emergencies.”

Instead however, I said “Yes”.

“Do your bags contain any of the banned items shown on this poster?”

I took a look at the poster the check-in lady was showing me.

The first icon appeared to be that of a man holding an exploding hotdog in his hand. I definitely did not have any of those in my bags.  The second icon looked like an artichoke.  Again I was absolutely sure that I was without artichokes. I skipped through the icons; battery acid, long knives, what could well have been a hand held global thermonuclear device, some battery acid, a broken New Castle Brown Ale bottle, a long length of razor wire, a small flame thrower, what appeared to be a space hopper and of course, a samurai sword.

I said “No” and wondered if I appeared truthful.  She was not looking at me.  I could well have been wearing a fake beard, moustache and a pair of joke glasses.

I was checking in two bicycles.  One under my name, the other was on my daughter’s ticket.  I was told to take the bags to the  oversize luggage area and put them through the x-ray machine.

The first bike bag was placed onto the machine and disappeared behind the rubber strips that hang from the top of the opening.  I could just make out a grey-haired man on the other-side of a pane of glass.  He motioned for me to place my boarding card up against the glass.  How odd I thought.  I did as instructed.

He stood up and opened the door to his dark little cave.  He pointed his index finger at me, then curled it and beckoned me in.  Like a witch.  Creepy.  I walked into the little room.

He then proceeded to frisk me, looking for exploding hotdogs and dangerous artichokes no doubt.

“You are now air-side.” He said.

I nodded.  There is not much you can say in response to that.

He then pointed at the screen showing an x-ray image of my bike and said “Can you please tell me what this is?”

Now let me tell you that when it comes to looking at x-rays, pictures or ultrasounds or indeed any two dimensional representation of a three dimensional object I am useless at interpreting the image.

Years ago when a doctor showed me an image of my daughter on the ultrasound screen I thought I was viewing a satellite image of the Pearl River Delta, either that or the skin of a strawberry magnified a thousand times.  I nodded and smiled and said “how cute.”

At times like these it is best to be truthful.  The security guy was still pointing at a tangled mass on the screen.  I said “You know what, I have absolutely no idea what that is.”

“Could it be a tin of WD-40?” he said.

A light bulb went on in my brain.  I thought he had found a can of liquid latex, designed to seal punctures in tires, that I had packed in my bag.

I explained this to him.  His eyes glazed over in the same way mine had glazed over when the doctor showed me an umbilical cord on the screen.

He let me go and ran my bike onto the conveyor belt.

I opened the door and left his dark room wondering what he dreamt of at night.

Later as I put my seatbelt on I wondered if anyone had handed over artichokes, space-hoppers or hotdogs at the check-in desk.

I smiled and began a ninety-minute session of staring out of the window.

I was looking forward to being back in Barcelona with my bikes.


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