By Jason Bourne
This article was written on May 13, 2016
I was due to catch a flight at 11am from Heathrow to Shannon, Ireland for a wedding. My friends and I were to go straight from the airport to the wedding ceremony that Saturday. Having travelled repeatedly out of Heathrow, I knew exactly when to leave my flat to avoid sitting around Heathrow watching the clock and idiotic travellers shop at an airport. I woke up expecting the day to be relatively calm and peaceful. It took me two hours to experience enough stress and angry thoughts to send most people onto a therapists’ couch (or into a mental institution).
I departed on time to catch the Heathrow Express. The problem was when I arrived at Paddington I learned they were running a reduced service, every 30 minutes rather than the usual 15, and that I had just missed the last train. I was now pushing the clock, for I was to depart from Terminal 2, which had just been upgraded and I was unfamiliar with how long it would take me to reach the gate. My calculations and prior routines were now useless.
Instant panic set over me. I remained calm but that was soon tested as more and more idiotic tourists and families boarded the train. Soon the train was packed wall to wall, no different from a commute on the Central Line in Zone 1 during rush hour. Except this wasn’t everyday Londoners, the crowd had the look of confused outsiders. This means tourists and loads of kids with their parents. I started to fume. I wanted to kill every living soul on this train. The average person might get slightly annoyed by this, but no, I wanted to throw everyone off that train at its highest speed. I knew I would now have to make a run for it, in my suit, once I disembarked the train.
The train slowly made its way to the terminal, every minute feeling like ten, every second my heart beating faster. I sent a text to my friends to ask how long it would take to get from the Express train to the gate. Their answer: 20 minutes. I do a quick calculation and realize that any holdup at security would put my boarding the plane in jeopardy. Instant panic and cold sweats begin to set in.
We arrived at the Terminal and I made a bee-line for the exit. I began to sprint towards the elevators, in my suit. As I approach the elevators, I see a man about to step inside one that had opened up. I am sprinting towards him, no more than 100 yards straight away. He sees me coming as he steps inside. He slips inside and doesn’t hold the doors. The doors slam shut as I approach. FUUUUUCK! I scream. The people behind me are now afraid to board the next elevator and begin to march slowly. To this day I wait for the moment I can finally confront someone who doesn’t hold an elevator and threaten to bash their brains in, likely out of some misplaced sad anger I can’t let go of because of some asshole at Heathrow. Probably not healthy, but there you go. In any case, I board the next elevator alone.
The elevator makes a stop at the arrivals level. The doors open and an older Indian lady and a young American couple stand before me. They look up, seemingly confused. They slowly step in. Then all three of them slowly step back out! As if some sick pre-arranged plan to torture me, they all begin to quickly step back in. Then they quickly step back out. As if on cue, they all simultaneously begin to step back in but with some hesitation….I can’t take much more at this point. Now, keep in mind there is a high probably this is their first experience in London. Standing before them is an idiot in a suit who is not pleased by their antics. I scream “IN OR OUT. I’M GOING TO MISS MY FUCKING FLIGHT SO LET’S GO!!!”. They all shuffle inside the elevator quickly in fear. The American girl looks at her boyfriend and nervously says “I hope this is going to the train”. I wanted to bash their heads together and then step on them.
The train goes up one level (I’m sure to add to their confusion, but who gives a fuck?) and arrives at the departures level and I make a run for it. It would become aware to me later on how those people in the elevator got a nice start to their holiday in London.
I’m in a sweat and to my surprise there isn’t much of a line at security. I manage to get through (without strangling anybody) and arrive at the gate just as the flight is boarding. My friends are in line laughing at the sight of me, drenched in a cold sweat in my suit. I make the wedding and everything else went fine. Sure I had thoughts about seriously hurting about 50 people within the first 2 hours of my day, but hey, who doesn’t sometimes?
London tests me. It tests every fibre of patience in me, as if to mock just how impatient I am. It mocks the weakest aspects of your being, to see if you can withstand it. It’s as if the city knows: you can’t handle this place, why do you even bother? Why indeed.