This post is specially for R, who accompanied me on our previous eventful flight rom San Diego (smiley), especially because it concerns airport security.
Me, Brazilian born-again lady, blue-eyed Isreali man and decent Scottish bloke arrived at the hotel that night at 2 am in short succession, meeting in the lobby and exchanging stories and taxi sharing. I alerted them to the local 24 hr A&P supermarket round the back of the hotel, which I'd spotted from the taxi and where Scottish bloke could get fags that night, and I some fruit salad in the morning.
We had dinner vouchers from our airline (value $10), but there was no dinner service still going at the Inn. Plus (worse), no booze- nothing for it but to settle for a hot-tub temperature bath (a rare luxury} and Discovery Channel (another treat- since subscription to the Sky package myself remains an excluded option). In the room, I talked on the airline's dime to my beloved from a public phone with two citizens of Christ discussing sin and forgiveness in the background to this. However, beloved assumes task of responsibility of phoning my son and his Dad to ensure Her Majesty de Quiffes des Oreilles was fed over my delay.
I'd just settled into one of the queen size doubles in my room that night when the fire alarm went off, and didn't go off after a minute or so. I look outside the door to see a couple kissing on the landing, waiting for the all-clear to resume a coupling. Scottish bloke from nextdoor in sweatpants ensemble, me in a camisole and hastily pulled on trousers run downstairs to smell worse burning on the ground floor. A man in a wheelchair used his partially paralysed feet to propel himself down the ground floor corridor to a locked door blocking our exit via the lobby. Just as I'm making noise that the door's locked, the duty manager races down the ground-floor corridor dressed in a white vest and boxers, scrambling to unlock the door.
It turns out someone at reception has burned some popcorn from the A&P in the microwave, but it smelled pretty bad when we sole evacuees assembled in reception- me, Scottish bloke and , an American guy in a wheelchair, possible cerebral palsy, as suffering from aphasia and spasticity. Probably living at the hotel long-term under some kind of tinpot assisted care package. This dude had single-handedly lifted himself, unattended, out of bed into his wheelchair and trundled that chair with numb flapping penguin feet to the lobby. I held open the door for him to get out to the lobby. Once the 'fire' was declared beaten, we all three shared a good laugh, and Ian (Scottish bloke) and I got him back to the bedroom. I slunk into bed and fell asleep to the pre-tuned evangelical radio, tuned subliminally low, which issued from the alarm clock.
In the morning I confirmed a flight for that night through an 0800 (freephone) number, and negotiated with the hotel a late midday checkout f9r my party of four. Ian very kindly signed off on the taxi fare for all of us to the airport. Business expenses, he said- thanks Ian. I managed through persistence to acheive another 8 dollar meal voucher the next day, and spent all but 2 dollars of this on beer. I made that my goal.
The final indignity was the security at Newark 'Liberty (sic)
Airport' for the last flight. I had 1- hours to wait between hotel checkout and flight take-off. LAX has at its international terminal an open-air courtyard at which those inclined can smoke. Not so Newark. Oh no. You have to go in and out of a TSA security checkpoint to smoke at Liberty Airport.
The first time I passed through the TSA checkpoint at LAX , I was pulled aside for a special in depth personal and baggage search. The same thing happened at Newark, so I asked why. This, I was told, could be either because I'd booked onto an alternative flight, or because I'd paid cash for my ticket or through a random search ID. All could apply to me. Anyway, as a security risk this meant that I was 'selected' (and yes- they used this term) for a 'secondary search'. Three times in a row over that 10 hrs I passed through the care of a female TSA worker, and by the end after sweeping my smelly feet, bra underwiring and crotch thrice, we were practically kissing cousins and she wanted to marry me. Actually by the third pass we were pals, me having explained to her my tobacco addiction.
Once on the flight, things settled down, not least due to the NRT patch affixed to my belly. I'd made sure to have a window seat, since I sleep best in these, but as joined at the last minute by an overweight NY gentleman who proceeded to appropriate our common armrest from the get-go, then also invade my personal space by opening the pink FT to its full-spread, across my book-view. I used my free voucher for an alcoholic drink of my choice to sleep though as much as possible an unavoidable contact with him.
It was drizzling on Edinburgh Airport's runways, as I absolutely love best, and we arrived in a thin mist, generating yet more steam and condensation from the engines. Hallelujah. I find the toilets, the turbo-ventilated smoking area and my luggage, and stride out in the morning light to a new day.