"Is this your bag, sir?" he asks. "Yes. Yes, it is", I fix a smile, determined not to be phased by the security guard in front of me. "Would you mind opening it for me please, sir?" "Of course not," I reply. He shoots me a look, wondering if my negative means yes or no.
It had been a fairly quick trip to the airport. Gatwick isn't my favourite place to fly from. Ok, let's face it, *no* airport is my favourite place to fly from. I hate flying. Full stop. But Gatwick ranks down towards the bottom of the list of airports. It's badly laid out and there's little to do. I get bored. Stressed and bored. But as I'm off on a business trip to Holland for a few days it was Gatwick that was the easiest to get to. So no choice really.
Anyway, returning to our security guard, my bag was being opened and I was turning a tad crimson as he pulled all my stuff out. It was only a small carry-on bag but it had three days of essentials. Out came two work shirts, a T-shirt, shoes, socks, ties, way too much underwear (was it all clean? It *looked* clean), a toiletry bag (he puts that to one side and gives me a look as if to say, "we'll save that particular embarrassment for later, *sir*") and finally my book. He flicks this upside down letting my bookmark fall out so losing my place. Was that entirely necessary?
He takes great care over my phone, iPod and watch now - asking me to turn stuff on and then swabbing each and testing the swab in a big machine that goes 'ping' like a microwave oven. Apparently a 'ping' is a good thing. No drugs, no explosive. That's a relief.
The search seemingly over, he starts to pack my things away. I say 'pack'... Really he was just stuffing it all back in my suitcase any old how wondering why is doesn't all quite fit. Only he's forgotten my toiletry bag. Until now that is. He spots it and then rather delights in opening it and taking out all sorts of things - some of which I never knew I had; some moisturiser I pinched from a hotel (he reads the label carefully), way too much Neurofen, some sedatives for my flight, over-sized plasters, condoms (I blush somewhat), lube, more condoms (more blushing), more lube, manky old cotton buds, an empty tube of toothpaste, Boots aspirin, elderflower eye gel (is it the 80s all of a sudden?), and finally (and rather triumphantly for him) right at the bottom he produces... a pair of nail scissors (oops!) A smile fleets across his lips. Fuck! I turn scarlet. "Are these yours, sir?" "Er, yes. Sorry", I rasp. "That's quite alright, sir. Lucky we found them."
Actually I think that I was the lucky one. He put the pair of scissors back in my toiletry bag(!), pushed everything towards me and said I could go. "Thank you", I mumble. Phew! I think he felt he'd made his point. But exactly what that point was was lost on me. Cheeks burning I scurried off relived and a little confused.
Oh, the mysteries of airport security.