Matt Fact #444: Mr. Bigglesworth I Presume?

Monday, April 20, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

You can't be lucky in every aspect of life. You can't be good at everything.  Some people can't, gun to their head, pick the fastest toll-booth line off the highway.  Other people seem to always be in the slow lane in traffic jams.  Me, I have an utter inability to choose the fastest security screening line at the airport. 

I try to be smart about it.  I don't just check out the length of each queue, but I also take into consideration children, older people, and people with a virtual Russian nesting doll version of neon pink luggage.  I do a scan of the whole area.  Regardless of my careful selection process, I pick misery each and every time.

I was travelling with my friend Steve on our way home from Colorado this past weekend.  We left ourselves plenty of time and overall, Denver didn't let us down.  While waiting in the pre-security check-in line, the TSA agent checked my photo identification first, and therefore it fell to me to choose our conveyer belt.  I looked left and right as if I were about to cross the street.  The line just in front of me was the second shortest, devoid of children, and only had one older person.  "Ester" was directly in front of me so I could see she was moving with no issues.  There is no room for empathic pleasantries in security line selection.

I scuttled forward, confident that our queue would, at worst, go as fast as all the others – given the favorable confluence of variables.  The instant Steve pulled up behind me, however, a woman one lane to our left stepped to her right and handed a baby to a man in our line.  I don't know what she had been doing at the other security station, but she and her new family of three were now posting up in front of us.  Of course they were.  In my narcissistic bubble, I felt as if this couple maliciously pulled a bait and switch on me, duping me into choosing the wrong line.  Bastards.

Even with our queue's tiny new arrival, I still held out hope Steve and I could push through this distraction without much pause.  My confidence was renewed when a few moments later I was sidling up to the rear of the conveyer belt and the stack of gray bins.  I had this procedure down to a science: Computer out, liquids out, everything else in a second bin.  What takes me 10 minutes to reassemble on the back end, only takes about 20 seconds to break down.  Therefore, a minute later all my belongings were waiting for conveyer space, and I was purposely dragging my feet on taking off my final two items, my belt and shoes.

I noticed that Ester in front of me hadn't moved up and was fussing the zipper of what appeared to be a duffle bag. Before I could offer my assistance, the zipper slid across one end of the bag, which I now recognized as a pet carrier. The final clue was that she pulled out of the bag the fluffiest, long-haired, white Persian cat, not unlike the one held by Bond villian Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

One Mean Pussycat
"Wow," I remarked, forgetting that the first rule of airport survival is don't talk to strangers, "She is a pretty pretty princess."

The older woman regarded me.  "She's actually a he." 

"Well than he is a pretty pretty princess," I insisted, confident I had won the day.

He looked more like this guy above. 
Then came the first favor. 

"Excuse me sir, but in a second I'm not going to be able to move my bags forward on the conveyor belt, would you mind pushing them up for me?"

"No problem, once they're all binned up, I'll keep em coming," I replied gleefully, confused as to the source of her handicap. 

"Oh thank you!," Ester replied.

And with that she reaching into the carrier again and pulled out another identical pretty pretty princess of a long-hairred white fluffy Persian cat!

That floored me.  That I did not see coming.  I turned around to Steve and opened my eyes all big, repeating my reaction to the pet hotel unloading in front of me.  

"Another great pick," chided Steve, "Only a newborn and two cats this time."

I'm actually that guy with baseball cap on the very far left
"I told you I'm not good at this," I lamented. 

Now the woman had a cat under each arm as she approached the scanner.  I dutifully pushed her bags onward and into the x-ray machine.  When I looked up, Ester was in front of me with two grumpy fluffy faces poking out from each of her armpits.  I was already deeply regretting opening my mouth to crack that princess joke minutes earlier.

"I forgot my shoes, I always forget my shoes," she said as she slipped off her white flats and stepped back from them.  

"Oh, and now I can't pick them up," Ester remarked just like the elderly woman in the "I've fallen and I can't get up" LifeAlert commercials.  You know, because she's hauling two huge cats.  

So now the security line was actively being held up by a mini-stand off where this woman was passively asking me to pick up her dirty ass slippers for her.  This was some stranger danger right here.   I'm a helpful guy, but there was still no friggin way I'm gonna volunteer to touch this ladies airport shoes.  I began removing my belt as my last ditch hope that perhaps she would do the more appropriate thing and ask a TSA agent for help.  At least they had gloves.

As my belt came off, she asked outright, "Could you please put my shoes on the machine for me?" 

Ugh. I didn't want to. I didn't want to. But of course I did.  I could hear Steve's muffled giggles behind me as I bent over to retrieve the cat lady's footwear. 

"Oh, thank you," she said.

"You're very welcome," I replied insincerely.

I turned around to glance at Steve as he leisurely removed his footwear.  

"Next time," I said, letting loose my first sneeze due to cat allergies, "You're going first." 

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