I quickened my pace as the terminal building drew closer. I was excited. Today I was going to fly for the first time ever. More accurately, this would be the first time I’d be successfully flying upwards instead of falling down from balconies as I was prone to do.
The airport was unexpectedly busy. I counted hundreds of people standing in different lines. Would there be enough planes for each one of them?
Were there any planes left for me?
People were seemingly unaware of the many empty counters and insisted on queuing for a few already busy ones instead. Stupid. Well, as they say, “an idiot is born once in a blue moon, while the black sheep catches the worm”. There’s much truth to that saying.
I put on my “smart hat” and made a beeline for the counter with no people. A smiling lady greeted me as I approached.
“Hello,” I said.
“Good day. May I see your passport and boarding pass?”
Silly woman. She must have assumed I was there on some official business that required passes and whatnot. I patiently clarified:
“No passes, mam. I’m just here to rent a plane. What’s the going rate?”
“Excuse me?” the lady arched her eyebrows in surprise.
“I. Would like. To rent. A plane!” my patience was starting to wear thin. Why was I always dealing with ignorant people?
“Uhm. You can’t ‘rent’ a plane, sir. Did you want to buy a ticket to somewhere?”
“Mam, this is an airport, correct? The port for airplanes? Surely there are planes here. I’d just like to rent one of them, that’s all.” I countered with impeccable logic.
“I’m afraid that’s not how it works. You can buy a ticket, though.”
Seemed like I’d have to play it her way. I never thought airplanes required tickets like amusement park rides, but I wasn’t going to waste more energy arguing with her strange rules.
“Sure,” I said “give me a ticket.”
“Where to, sir?”
“I haven’t made up my mind, yet. I’ll figure that out once I’m in the air!”
The look of shock and utter confusion on her face told me all I needed to know. She was obviously unqualified for her job and, quite possibly, a bit crazy. I’d have to tread lightly, lest I upset her fragile mental balance.
“Look, I was hoping to tell the driver where I wanted to go, but if you’re…”
“Did you mean ‘pilot’?”
“…going to insist on a ‘prepaid’ deal, so be it. Let’s say Paris.”
“OK, Paris. There’s a plane leaving later today, five hours from now.”
“That’s really inconvenient. Can we schedule it closer to now?”
“Sir, do you even know how airports operate? We can’t just reschedule a flight. There are other passengers involved!”
“I am travelling alone, as you can very well see! There’ll be no other passengers!” I was losing my cool. My right hand formed a fist and was banging it repeatedly on the counter, as if of its own accord, except it was actually me doing it.
A crowd had gathered behind me and some of them were attempting to calm me down. Why did this always happen to me? All I wanted was to rent a plane for a quick flight, yet somehow I was the bad guy. I was not going to let myself get arrested again!
“You were arrested before?!” the woman asked, while holding a phone to her ear and frantically dialling an unknown, 3-digit number. How did she know?! Was she reading my mind? Was she some sort of a psychic witch telepath?
“No, you’re just saying everything out loud!” a voice came from the crowd.
I turned around swiftly, but misjudged the spin and ended up facing the same check-in lady. Dammit!
I’ve had enough of people acting like I was some kind of weirdo. Who is he to tell me what I did or didn’t say. “I think I’d know if I was saying stuff out loud instead of thinking it, smart ass,” I thought to myself.
“Yeah, you said that out loud too,” the smart ass continued mocking me.
Seemed like my chances of flying today were quickly diminishing. I would have to try renting a plane again another day from someone who wasn’t clearly insane. I muttered a goodbye, which sounded a lot like “useless nutjob” and turned to leave the airport.
“Sir, you will have to come with me,” said a man with a name tag that read “Mike Thompson, Airport Security”.
“Are you here for my security?” I asked.
“I’m here to escort you from the premises,” the man answered, suppressing what appeared to be a smile.
“Good enough for me,” I said, adding “Thank you, whatever your name is.”
“It’s Mike. Mike Thompson.”
“Thank you Mike, whoever you may be,” I continued.
“I’m from Airport Security”
“Right,” I said. “That makes quite a lot of sense,” I added, even though it didn’t.
“Come with me,” Mike said and took me gently by the shoulder, pushing me ever so slightly towards the nearest exit.
I turned around to cast a condescending glance at the check-in woman and the crowd. Just a few moments ago they were acting so superior. Now they were left in the dust while I was being personally escorted out by my new friend Mike. I hoped they’d learned a valuable lesson, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath. Some people just never get it.