You see, every six weeks or so I get up before the crack of dawn to hop on a plane headed for Liverpool and the HIV clinic located in that fair city - and it’s been a real bitch these past few times having to go without my hand lotion and toothpaste. Yeah, I know, not a real biggie in the greater scheme of things, but it?s a pain in the arse and I?m glad to see the back of it.
While I could get along without the toothpaste, it was a nuisance not having hand lotion for the day. Like any self-respecting hi-fiver, I wash my hands at every available opportunity, especially when out amongst a germ-ridden Joe-public. That makes for some mighty dry mitts and necessitates keeping mitt-lube close to hand.
Call me set in my ways, but I?d grown accustomed to being able to take a bottle of water with me on the flights. There was a time, back in the good old days of Manx Airlines, when it didn?t matter so much because they crammed a continental breakfast down your neck, along with the choice of juice, coffee or tea.
When the Manxies were bought out by British Airways, they kept up the pretence of keeping things the same for all of a few months. First, the croissants vanished. Then, BA decided that Manx folk who depended on the Liverpool flights for health care didn?t matter and we were left with a succession of rinky-dink airlines (pre-in-flight entertainment included watching them wind the rubber-band up) who may, or may not, offer you a swig of juice. Lately they?ve been checking the ?may not? option, so the bottled water was vital for quenching a nerve-dried throat.
The liquids restrictions didn?t really work anyway. The last time I went through the security point in Liverpool, a vaguely Asian-looking little old lady was pulled aside and made to hand over a tiny pot of lip-gloss. Ten minutes later I found myself in close proximity to an old biddy with a posh accent who was working herself up into a major panic.
?Oh Emily?, she shrieked to her travelling companion. ?I?ve lost my passport!?
Emily rolled her eyes, obviously used to such histrionics. ?Oh for heaven?s sake woman, do empty your handbag!? (You could see her silently adding, ?you old bag!?)
The old woman did as she was told and out came no fewer than five bottles of various shapes and sizes containing goodness knows what sort of face-making potions, along with her passport. These weren?t travel size bottles, they were large economy jobs and how on earth the security team spotted the maybe-Asian woman?s fifty-pence piece sized pot of lip gloss, but missed Posh Biddy?s cosmetic arsenal, is beyond me.
I passed the rest of the wait-to-board entertaining myself with a short story of how an old woman was ?detained for questioning? after a vigilant member of the public (me) turned her in for having weapons of mass face-reconstruction in her handbag. And by the glazed expression on Emily?s face as Posh Biddy droned on about her near-missing passport, I do believe she was lost in a similar fantasy.
But yeah, I?m happy this morning. When I go over on the 21st of the month to count my CD4s, I can take my water and drink it too.