There’s a special layer of hell for airlines that force a man of over 6 foot into a cramped window seat. The plane ride back was uneventful, apparently we had a good wind behind us – or Ryanair had invested in supersonic engines while I wasn’t looking – either way, I was back in Spain before Midnight, after just 2 and a half hours of wondering whether my shoulder was going to be dislocated by the old woman next to me being suddenly shocked by her game of solitaire.
Going through passport control, the guy examining my passport gave me a look that made me think a strip search was on the horizon – but I made it through to the homeland unviolated. Now it’s time to drink and smoke with impunity, listen to An American Prayer on repeat and prepare for the old grind to begin in two days. Hasta Luego, England, hello Espana – let’s get drunk.
I returned to Wetherspoon’s again – the drink I’d gotten before had left a film over my throat and I needed to wash it away. Just water this time, serious drinking can wait until I return to Spain. It’s a point much pondered, but the monetization of water is one of the strangest features of modern society.
This is a substance which literally keeps me alive, not something to give a rush or even to drink for pleasure, particularly. It’s especially striking to think, here I am, in this canker in the bosom of the western world, buying a glass full of water for £2.20, while huge amounts of people have no access to clean water. There’s a certain vanity to paying for bottled water – but what, other than vanities, can be expected from Wetherspoon’s, a plastic glorified hole in the wall? I’d rant more, but alas, not long until my flight is called, and I need to traverse the ragged Concourse again. Viva Espana!
“Save yourself…from hell”
Every goddam interaction in this place (bar one, guy in Wetherspoon’s, you know who you are) makes you want to gouge your eyes out. Even buying a copy of The New Statesman (50% informative, 50% terrible – I want either a job or a price cut), required me to scan my boarding pass. I was previously unaware that I was flying WH Smith Air – a brave new venture for Michael O’Leary?
My ears pricked up when there was an announcement saying some luckless fool’s luggage will be blown up by bomb disposal if they don’t collect it. What a situation – wishing for a short and vicious firework display. “Ooooh, Aaaah!”
I was under the misapprehension that a toilet in an airport would be easy to get to, but instead, you’ve got to walk down a half-built concourse, behind painfully slow tourists. All I wanted was a fucking slash. I received a brisk walk instead. #Changeforgoddamlife
I went into Wetherspoon’s, and got a soft drink – this place, a synthetic pub chain, has more soul than the rest of the airport. Stansted feels like it sucks the soul out of you, possibly rectally. A special kind of freak vibration after London. Or perhaps that’s just Essex.
I stood outside the sleek glass building of Stansted Airport, a bizzarre edifice that rises out of grim Essex countryside. Snow was coming down like Britannia’s dandruff, showering down to say goodbye. After having a smoke and huddling outside with other smokers, including one woman looking askance at me smoking, despite she herself holding a glowing tobacco stick in hand, I left. We’d been puffing underneath a “No Smoking” sign, but neither blue-jacketed airport staff, nor FAMAS-armed filth seemed to care.
A fat, red-faced man told me to proceed through security, so I bought a copy of Esquire and went for a final smoke. Proceeding through security, I presented all my items of value to be examined by undertrained, tired staff. I recovered my things and headed through to Departures. I ate a disappointing wrap and wished for enough booze to make my 4-hour wait time pass quicker, but apparently this request is absurd, since a pint cost nearly as much as a pint of crude, so instead I emailed a South African writer friend of mine and pondered the grim steel tent in which I was encamped.
Now it’s time to go see what other delights are on offer in this love letter to capitalism. Death to the dollar, Mickey Mouse, Stansted Airport, and David Cameron.