Yet Another Day
My right hand instinctively hits the snooze button as soon as the alarm sets off. But somebody from inside tells me, “It’s time to get ready”.
I run for a quick shower that somehow clears off my head enough to focus on the tasks at hand. I’m going through the checklist one last time while munching cereal with warm milk. The cab driver calls me up to inform that he is waiting downstairs. That means no time for coffee.
I come out of the front door carrying my luggage. I set foot on a semi dark street. It’s predawn. I glance at my watch. It’s time to start.
The cab glides through the empty streets. The daylight breaks as we reach the airport. The driver drops me off at a quite gate. I stroll past the gate glancing at the airlines counter which is still not very busy. It’s time to redeem my coffee.
I settle down on a chair in the coffee shop with a cup of steaming hot latte. It has started raining outside already. I enjoy watching the nature through huge glass wall. People starts entering the hall, some of them half soaked. Sudden rain has made the crowd clumsy.
I check flight status in my phone; it’s still on schedule. I put down my coffee cup after the last sip. It’s time to be greeted by some pretty faces.
The airlines lady pouts her lips while handing me my boarding pass, because I’ve committed a grave crime by choosing a different airlines for my return flight. It’s time to face some serious people.
But the gentleman at the Immigration counter is half-smiling, in a trance, almost oblivious to the comings and goings around him. Only his half open eyes are fully alert, scanning for something invisible. The security lady is very pretty, for a change. I wish I had a particular fetish for women in uniform! It’s time to do some shopping, for friends.
I move around the Duty free shops collecting odd items. Some teenage girls are scanning the merchandises, taking photos with their phones, and even taking selfies with brightest smile. I wait quietly at the counter while the cashier finishes wrapping the gifts. The next customer drops three boxes of chocolate at the counter as I make way for her. I suddenly feel hungry. It’s time to nibble on something.
In the food court I spot the “holiday mascot” with full gear on – white printed t-shirt, a pair of beige colored shorts, blue colored flip-flops, rainbow colored sunglasses and a shocking red backpack – chatting heartily with the bubbly girl at a counter. I look around and settle down on a chair facing a large LCD monitor printing out flight status. It’s time to wait.
Something changes on the LCD monitor. Far away in the food court, the “holiday mascot” starts rushing towards the gate, comes back halfway, says something to the girl at the counter, types something in his cell phone and rushes off again. I reluctantly leave my chair. It’s time to join the queue.
I stroll past arrays of empty chair which were fully occupied a moment ago. A family of four hurriedly joins the queue, still panting. The head of the family is running through his checklist aloud. The other three members are nodding their heads in unison. The queue moves slowly. The rain has stopped by now. I can see the wet tarmac and the drenched sky bird which will take us under her wings soon. It’s time to get on board.
The plane is full of holiday tourists – families, groups and solo travelers. There are also quite a few business travelers sprinkled here and there. I find a father-daughter duo as my seat mates. The 8 year old speaks fluent Thai, but the father is still struggling to catch up with her. So I look around for the Thai language teacher. There she is, sitting across the aisle and taking care of a toddler. It’s time to sit back and relax.
People are busy in settling down fast. A few are doing last minute negations among themselves about the rightful position of their hand bags in the overhead luggage compartments. A cabin crew rushes towards the tail. But apparently nothing happens. The prettiest of them grabs the PA and starts announcement. It’s time for my phone rituals.
I remove my wallet, take out a paper clip, switch off my phone, pull out the SIM tray by poking with the paper clip, and insert my Thai SIM. The father and daughter watch my rituals closely. The father breaks the ice, borrows my paper clip and does the same for his and his wife’s phones. Usual chit-chat follows between us two expats till his daughter gets bored and grabs his attention by demanding to play with his cell phone. I see the cabin crews approaching slowly with the food cart. It’s time to grab a bite.
My preordered meal is served. I chose my drink. I look out of the window at the snow white cloud. The food trays disappear. The coffee arrives. I doze off soon. It’s time to do nothing.
The captain intimates that we’re about to descend. Cabin crews get ready. I look outside and see the familiar view. Passengers are sitting in attention. The aircraft touches the ground and comes to a halt eventually. People are already on their feet. Ringtones and greetings fill in the cabin. My seat mate looks at me hesitantly; visiting cards are exchanged followed by a halfhearted promise from both sides to get in touch. The Thai teacher is already on her way out carrying the toddler in her arm. It’s time to get off.
I’m walking alongside the charged up crowd. It’s a long walk, but I make it even longer by ignoring the first immigration gate and approaching towards the second one which is significantly less crowded. I wait beside the carousel patiently; the belt is still motionless. I fire some quick texts announcing my arrival to people who possibly care. Moments pass, a couple of baggage assistants appear, the belt starts rolling, and there is my travel companion for years, bruised but still fighting. It’s time to make the final lap.
I glide down on the escalator and walk up to the taxi token dispenser. I check the number in the token and locate an empty spot which soon gets filled up by a yellow-green colored sedan. I open the door and throw myself on the seat and blurt out my destination to the driver in my broken Thai. It’s yet another day!