24th July 2008: OMG, it’s full of tea!

So, I think I’m awake enough to post about a funny thing that happened on the way home. I’m not very awake, mind you, but anyway.

Bristol airport have unilaterally decreed that nobody is leaving there with more than one piece of hand luggage. We all had one piece of hand luggage plus a laptop each. The others managed to repack so that their laptops were in their hand luggage, but I couldn’t. Caliban is a fairly hefty laptop as laptops go, and anyway, my hand luggage was smaller and already full of fragiles. Now Caliban is a hefty laptop and his carrying case is very sturdy — it was the original case with the original Caliban, which was one of the first 386 laptops in Europe in the early nineties. The padding is very good. It survived the journey absolutely fine, (“Arthur bruised his upper arm…”) though I did hate the thought of checking him and I did worry all the way that someone would steal him or he would get damaged.

Zorinth’s checked bag was a very heavy backpack, with straps. Because of that, and because I’d made a bit of a fuss about being forced to check Caliban, they asked us to take these two bags down to the x-ray machine for special x-rays and gentle treatment as odd-shaped pieces of luggage unsuitable for conveyer belts. Because the pack was Zorinth’s and I was juggling three people’s passports and boarding cards, he was holding the papers for both bags when we got there. They went through the machine, and then they called him forward to Caliban’s case. The rest of us waited a little way away and watched what happened.

The baggage guy, a huge fellow, pointed at Caliban and asked Z to open the case. Z sensibly opened the central compartment where the actual laptop was, not the sides, which are special bits for the wires. It was evident in every motion of Z’s body that he was horrified to have the baggage guy believe that this antique laptop had anything to do with him. “It’s my crazy mother’s,” he was probably saying. “It runs DOS. I have a much better laptop than this!”

The baggage guy nodded and asked him to open the side compartments of Caliban’s case. Z did, clearly expecting only the wires and powerbox and USB A-drive. But I had — well, it seemed like a good idea at the time — stuffed the sides with Somerfield red berry tea bags. They’re foil wrapped, and there wasn’t any need to take the boxes because they were going into a tin when they got here. I’d bought ridiculous amounts of them because Somerfield have been bought by the Co-Op and I’m worried that they’ll stop making their terrific own brand tisanes. (This always happens to me. I’m in a permanent state of having plenty of teas to drink, but several instances in the apartment of the last teabag in the world of some particular tea.) So anyway, I’d opened the packets and stuffed a lot of them into my pack, and when I’d run out of room there I’d had the brilliant idea of stuffing them around the wires in Caliban’s case.

The baggage guy laughed and said something. Z looked mortified. He zipped the case up again and the baggage guy gently put it with some other bags. Z came back to where I was chortling. “Did he say Oh My God It’s Full Of Tea?” I asked. “No,” Z said. “He just said: well why not.”


Posted in Life as it blossoms out in a jar or a face, Whimsy