Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flying !! .... no sympathy, no help.

I wanted to catch a flight,not ‘early onset’ Victor Meldrew Syndrome

Last updated at 10:00 PM on 9th October 2010
Victor Meldrew syndrome - a form of exasperated, powerless irascibility - now kicks in at the age of 52
Victor Meldrew syndrome - a form of exasperated, powerless irascibility - now kicks in at the age of 52
I missed a plane on Thursday night. Well, I didn’t miss it so much as I was barred from boarding. The m5 was busy, as usual, Bristol was chock-a-block with rush-hour traffic, even though it was only 3.30pm (why do people finish work so early?). 
I zoomed to a skew-whiff stop in the drop-off zone because the normal car parks are too far away from the concourse, and ran to the orange check-in desk.
Yes, you guessed it, I was flying with easyJet, the company that pretends to be cheap, but then charges a fortune for baggage, and whacks on a few more quid if you use a credit card to pay online (how else do they expect you to pay? By postal order?).
I raced up to the desk, panting. 
'There eez a queue,’ the blonde woman behind a computer told me, without looking up. 
‘I’m really late for the Edinburgh flight.’
‘That flight is closed.’
‘But there are still 30 minutes to go! I’m not going to check in my luggage. it’s a really small airport. I’m very fit.’ 
‘That flight is closed.’
'But I’m on the way to a funeral. i have to get there.’ 
‘You need to go and queue at the information desk.’
I went and queued at the information desk. We repeated much of the dialogue above. i tried the more human approach. 
‘What is your name?’ ‘Aimee.’ 
‘Aimee. Can you not use your discretion and rush me through, make a phone call, type something into that computer, get me one of those buggies for the disabled that make a noise and threaten to run people over. it’s a domestic flight. it’s still boarding. my sister-in-law has just died.’
‘It is not our policy. We won’t charge you the full price to get the next plane in four hours, just £43.’ 
I asked why she had not shown any sympathy at all when dealing with me. I pointed out that at no point had she uttered the words: I am so sorry. How awful for you. Let’s try. Let me pick up this walkie-talkie. After all, what else is it for? I am here to serve you, the customer, after all! 
‘i don’t need to show any sympathy. That flight is closed.’
Last week, scientists revealed that Victor Meldrew syndrome, a form of exasperated, powerless irascibility named after the lead character in the sitcom One Foot in The Grave, now kicks in sooner, at the age of 52. 
After this age, we begin to worry more about money and our health, we start penning letters of complaint and getting into disputes with our neighbours, and we laugh only three times a day. 
Three times a day! I have laughed out loud only once in the past month, and that – I’m sorry to admit – was when i heard on the news that the poor man repairing Weston-super-Mare pier had been hospitalised, suffering from acute hypothermia. 
Happily, he recovered I am not remotely surprised by the scientists’ findings. We have every right to be cantankerous. 
Let’s take Yvette Cooper, surely too young to take on the role of shadow Foreign secretary, who said on Friday of the Iraq War: ‘We have to move on.’ 
This makes me almost as mad as when people say: ‘moving forward ...’ 
What if i don’t want to move on? What if i want to worry at something and go over it and over it, again and again? 
Yvette Cooper has the super-short haircut typical of all those Left-wing women: her haircut says: I’m too busy bossing my nanny to have time for nits. 
But what makes me most irate is that no one these days uses their judgment, or goes the extra mile.
The coroner heading up the inquest into the death of barrister Mark Saunders, who was shot by police marksmen in 2008, said of the officers that they did not use enough common sense, and that they employed a ‘slavish adherence to protocols’.
Doesn’t this just about sum up all that is bad about Britain? 
When I eventually went to check in again, the man behind the computer, without looking up, said: ‘You didn’t follow the barriers. You ducked under zem.’ ‘But I’m the only person here.’ 
‘You can’t do that! The barriers are for safety. And you can’t check in that bag, it is loose.’ 
‘What do you mean, loose?’ 
‘It is LOOSE! LOOSE!!! LOOSE!!!!’ 
He stared rigidly into space, breathing out slowly; his expression said: ‘Oh, these stupid indigenous English people.’ 
A little old security guard came across to translate. ‘He means soft.’ 
‘Ah!’ I said. ‘You mean it is not Rigid.’
‘Yes, it is LOOSE!’

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