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September 6, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Rules of Engagement: Holiday Special

By the time you read this, it will be that time again. You know, that time. Your days will be filled once again with lectures, assignments and Homeric-length epic course readings which, let’s face it, need their own SparkNotes page. But right now, I’m trying not to think about that, or you. I’m on holiday. You can’t make me.

But given that this is a column about social graces and the like, I suppose I could impart some holiday wisdom on you. If you ask nicely. And make me cupcakes. With icing. Icing’s the best part.

How to make it through an airport without strangling somebody

As we all know, an important part of the holiday-ing experience is the travelling to and fro, and the people you run into along the way often play an important role in determining whether you visit Sucksville or Awesometown. When going through airports in particular, I often find it’s the former. There’s a full-on rugby team of people to get through just to make it to the plane, and they generally make life as difficult as possible.

To set the scene: There I was, at Wellington Airport. Three hours early, of course, because the powers that be seem to think that people need enough time to do a slow-motion robot walk through customs. (Either that or it’s just a cruel, cruel joke, but I like to think they’re just waiting for someone to break out the robot moves.) Sadly this means an extended wait in the departure “lounge”.

After being forced to display my “liquids” in a clear plastic bag for all the world to see (which broke, I might add), I was selected for your friendly neighbourhood bomb check. I must have that look about me—you know, the suspicious “I’ve got a bomb hidden in my jacket, hohoho” look. They cheerily informed me that if I, or my clothing, had touched explosives, they would know. I wondered how I would explain that my blazer has lately been sneaking out at night to let off fireworks, but thought it was better left unsaid.

You make it past all that, slightly out of breath, but alas, the rugby game continues. You have to kind of run, zigzagging through the duty-free area, all the while shouting, “just browsing” to your left and right, while shop assistants try to tackle you from all sides. Finally, dripping with sweat, blood and invisible bomb residue, you make it to the departure gate, only to find about a hundred rows of crying babies, and a sinister cafeteria selling chocolate milks for $4. (I briefly entertained the hope that it was magical chocolate milk, but it wasn’t.)

There’s a mad scrum when they announce you may now commence boarding—I suppose everyone’s hoping for an escape. Oh hoho, how wrong you are, because they then lock you in a giant tube. For hours. While they feed you suspiciously squishy pies.

Now I’m not saying stay at home. But don’t delude yourself. Airports are not fun. The only way to get through them without strangling somebody—or yourself—is to crank up the iPod. That way, when you’re nodding away and twitching spasmodically, you’ll at least encourage people to think you’re a bit odd, and to stay away from you.

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