Bags of trouble
A scan of the departures area at Avalon airport, southwest of Melbourne, reveals there are no DIY check-in kiosks. This means I will have to front a real person who will want to weigh my carry-on luggage, which I know is over the 7kg limit, but not by how much. How kind will that pretty blonde at the desk be to me? This is what a theatrical English friend of mine refers to as a “tingly botty” moment.
“Pop your bag on the scales,” she says politely, “and your handbag.” Oops, 4kg over, how can that be?
Less than graciously, I storm off as I don’t want to pay almost as much as the cost of the no-frills air ticket to put luggage in the hold.
Back outside the terminal, I examine the contents of my case. It is really only clothes. I start dressing. Pants over jeans, skirt over both. Woollen top and cardigan donned, jumper wrapped around my neck and suede jacket over the lot. Spying the jewellery bag, I remember a couple of heavy silver bangles, a necklace and a mass of mismatched strands of beads. On they go.
Back at the check-in queue I pray to the gods of travel that I don’t get the polite but unhelpful blonde again. Sweating under all the clothes I’m wearing, I eventually get a nod from her male colleague to approach the counter. Phew. I hide my wallet, novel and notebook on the shelf below his view. He weighs my case, it is 8.2kg and, miraculously, he doesn’t appear to care. He also seems to have no interest in weighing my handbag and wraps a red “good to go on board” tag on my case.
Oh joy. Now to security. All that silver jewellery has to come off so I don’t set off the metal detectors. Blinking heck, my belt with the metal buckle is on my jeans, beneath the skirt, under the pants. I undo the skirt zipper and then the pants and feeling very hot under the collar manage to yank the belt through the keepers on the jeans.
I don’t understand why I’m not attracting more attention from other passengers as, clearly, I look ridiculous. Perhaps I have reached that age when women become invisible.
Home free? Not quite. Through security at last, I am waved over for explosives testing. Very close to exploding with heat and humiliation, I manage to open the suitcase and handbag, place one foot after the other on a step thingy, then spread my sausage-like padded arms and submit to further prodding from the officious explosives officer. No gunpowder is detected.
I waddle off wrangling suitcase and handbag, skirt and pants zippers open, belt trailing ... I am red-faced, damp with perspiration, absurdly bejewelled but somehow still smug enough to hum a merry tune.