Maeve Higgins: My ideal airport security experience

my ideal.. airport security experience


I was in my room the other day, trying to figure out who’d been sleeping in my bed. I listened, I sniffed and I felt, but I couldn’t work it out. All I could deduce about the culprit was the following – they were very large, very warm and almost completely square.

Cunning, too: I did some calendar work and realised that they had started creeping under my covers right around time I’d started using my electric blanket again.

Baffled, I gave up and decided instead to imagine the ideal airport security experience.

My earliest memory (apart from the Battle of Hastings) is myself as a four-year-old with long highlighted hair, placing a little satchel full of toy guns onto the conveyor belt, then waiting for all the glorious attention to come my way. Come it did, accompanied by an airport security woman waving a magic wand all over me. When it failed to beep, I knew for sure I was not a cyborg, therefore my father was not a robot, just an extremely well-programmed human. Mystery solved, thank you Lady Fly Safe!

Lonely travellers leave a few coins in their pockets – the required fee for physical contact.

Little do they know what’s really going down – a body-shape assessment as part of a new Government survey.

Only those with intact self-esteem can hope to weather the withering notes. One clipboard note I glanced at said this: “Pure stick insect, straight up and down, I’ve an ironing board here on the way to Manchester for a hen.”

It came to my turn. The security woman’s hands were sure and quick and she announced her review, unnecessarily, over the tannoy. Scrawny shoulders and grand sturdy legs – solid. I chose to take that as a compliment, despite her mocking tone.

Those men with x-ray eyes who sit behind the screens can see much more than luggage you know. Just yesterday I got held up behind a young immigrant as his parents watched from the barrier. The security man was going through his liquids and when he got to his tears asked him, not unkindly, Are all of these genuinely sad tears?

The boy replied in a low voice, scuffing the ground with one foot as he spoke. Not all of ’em, there’s probably about 60ml of pure excitement in there too, like maybe my life is finally about to begin.

The best thing about the security gates are when the old and infirm are rushed through – allowing them to shakily flip the bird at the suits who rushed past them at check-in.

The worst thing is when they make you take your laptop out and everybody sees that it’s made out of cardboard because you are poor.

The ideal trip through airport security flashes by in a haze of hasty undressings and unsaid anxieties where someone is giddy and someone is grumpy but everyone is safe, to tie their laces and begin to remember what they forgot.

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