Imagine this : at 5.00 am, when London is quiet and empty and beautifully peaceful, and the sun is about to rise – you are sitting on the first floor of a red doubledecker, in front of the window. This bus takes you on a fantastic ride through slowly awakening London. There is nearly no traffic, St. Pauls is as beautiful as ever in this shimmering morning light, and suddenly standing up this early wasn’t bad at all. I might even do it again.
Another advantage of flying early (7.30am) on a Sunday morning : no check-in queues. My empty suitcase went through without problems. However, my screaming orange handbag did have a less succesfull trip through the x-ray machine.
“Huh ?” was all I thought, when I saw it getting transported to the handsome security man.
In my head I was quickly scanning it’s contents. There wasn’t anything sharp in there, now was there ? (I had a pocketknife in my backpack once, and that was embarrassing enough). The security man asked me to come over, and asked me the obvious question.
“Is this your bag ?” he asked.
No I am just walking around with it” I wanted to say.
“Yes it is” I answered.
“May I have a look in it ?”
“Of course” I said.
There wasn’t really much in it, keys, notebook (the paper version), book, my small Canon Ixus digicam, and an enormous amount of cinema tickets, theatre tickets, leaflets and other London memoires.
“Are you flying home ?” he asked.
“No, London is home” I said.
“Ahh, London is your home” he nodded. He didn’t ask where I was going.
He fished my camera out of my bag.
“Has this camera ever been damaged ?” he asked me.
“Uhm, yes it’s damaged right now.” (A corner of the CF card lid broke off a year ago.)
“Has it ever been repaired ?” he continued.
“No, it hasn’t” I said.
“And what a silly question is that really ?” I asked him.
He looked at me. “Well” he said. “If it had been repaired, they may have put explosives in it. In the batterycompartment”.
I looked at him in disbelief, and wondered if he had seen too many movies.
“You are kidding me right ?” I asked him.
He wasn’t, obviously, he looked dead serious.
He swiped the camera with a special brush, and put the result of that on a piece of paper. I couldn’t see anything at all coming off my camera. The brush looked like the ones they take fingerprints with in CSI. This was getting interesting.
He took the paper and my camera to a special machine, and checked it again. Don’t ask me what he checked, I have absolutely no idea.
He came back with it. “Everything is ok” he said.
He put my camera back in it’s bag, carefully putting the wristband in too, and handed it to me.
“Lovely” he said, he smiled now.
“Yeah, you too” I was nearly going to say.
“Thanks” was what I said. And I wandered off to my plane.
In Aarhus I did the things I had to do. The weather was nice, Denmark looked nice from the sky with the yellow fields, but I wasn’t in doubt, this wasn’t my place anymore, and I gladly jumped on board of the plain flying me back to London, about 10 hours later. My handbag went through security without them even looking at it.