We thank Paola, long-time friend of Expatclic, for this funny, light, delightful article at the Aldergrove airport…
We are on our way to catch a flight to Edinburgh, Scotland, the second leg of our holiday. Suddenly the next four weeks of living out suitcases, imposing on friends and relatives, looms like an inevitable recurring nightmare. Just as we get into hired car I collapse in tears: “I can’t take holidays. I can’t take moves. Leave me here and go.”
But I manage to pull myself together and practice deep yogic breathing all the way to Aldergrove airport. At the airport we return the hired car and check in.
I have no idea what time our flight is leaving, but feel that we must have plenty of time. I vaguely look at the “Departures” monitor but nothing registers. I feel stressed, and guilty that I feel stressed, and more guilty that I feel guilty. I need some time out. I see a Boots pharmacy. O.K., I’ll go shopping.
“Where will I meet you?” I ask my husband.
“On the plane,” he says.
I’m on autopilot, and my legs take me to the hair-removal section in Boots the Chemist. Excellent idea. I’ll wax my legs. That’ll be therapeutic. I buy a packet of leg wax. I go to the Ladies’, open up the packet, take off my shoes and socks, roll up my jeans, lift my leg up onto the edge of the sink, and start waxing. The stickiness, the ripping sound, the black hairs on the strips, the bald patches on my legs, are all satisfying. This feels good.
A woman comes in, goes into a toilet cubicle. She comes out a minute or two later, and leaves, not appearing to notice me. Then another. Same routine. I’m surprised. I have never seen anyone waxing legs in a public washroom: why aren’t they curious?
I see a sign on the wall above a dispenser. “Durex, now easy-on.” What was it before, I wonder? Hard-on?
Every now and then there’s an announcement over the loudspeaker, all for a flight to Glasgow. I keep waxing. The announcements progress from “This is a boarding call for flight…” to “Final boarding call for flight…” to “Last call for Mr Hamish McGowan traveling to Glasgow….”. I finish one leg, and as I’m wiping off the excess wax with an oily wipe, I am impressed: I had thought that all airports had cut back on departure calls in an effort to empower the passenger, but Aldergrove still helps you get your plane.
A tall woman with a blonde crew-cut comes in, goes into the toilet cubicle, comes out, and as she washes her hands, asks me: “Does it hurt?” Not: “Why didn’t you wax them before you left?” or “Why don’t you wait till you get to where you’re going?”
“No, not at all – in fact it’s quite therapeutic,” I answer, ripping another strip off. It’s true. I feel calm. And remorseful about my earlier bad form. I will reassure my husband later that it’s just a symptom of my post-menopausal moods, and all will be well now that I have smooth legs.
I finish the second leg, wipe away the remaining bits of wax, roll down my jeans, and start putting on some makeup. Yes, I’ve cracked this. A bit of pampering is all it takes. I see my hair in the mirror – quite streaky – must be yesterday’s sun on my henna. I like it. Hey, this is fun.
The loudspeaker. I jump. “This is the final call for passenger Paola Fornari traveling to Edinburgh on Easyjet Flight 487. Please proceed immediately to Gate 14 as the flight is now fully boarded and the gate is closing.”
“Fully boarded?” What does that mean? Hang on! Where were the first call and the second call and all the other pre-fully-boarded calls? I look around me. Shoes and socks on the floor, wax strips in the sink, oily wipes, mascara, hairbrush…no doubt Gate 14 is a kilometer or two away….Oh no, here we go …