Sunday, 26 October 2008
Treated like a criminal - part one
In this day and age I find it difficult to remember that I am not a criminal. Even though I feel as if I am treated like one from the moment I open my eyes, to the moment I close them again at night. If I don't feel like a criminal I feel like I am living in a police state, so many things are designed these days to catch me out....
On Friday, the day of holiday departure, we manage to get through the endless security of internet banking to check all our balances before we set off. With usernames, passwords, security questions and handheld small devices with access codes on to wrestle with, it is a miracle I ever get to see my account. 'Never tell anyone else your security information, and NEVER write your information down' the screen sreams. Have the designers of these systems ever heard of HRT? Even under torture if would be hard for me to remember everything I have to! 'It is for your own security' lectures the bank, but I strongly suspect the only people they manage to thwart is the innocent customer: the criminal mind appears to have no bother getting through their systems. And the fact that different organisations want different permutations of the security information... think of a code with eight letter beginning and ending with a number, some in capitals and some lower case, reminiscent of a time and place in your life which is meaningful,but which no-one else knows about, and we don't recommend anything to do with your date of birth, phone number, house number, anniversary.......' Drone Drone.
We set off on the drive to the aiport and manage to avoid all the static speed cameras, mobile speed cameras in vans, police cars hidden in bushs, radar guns on bridges and arrive at Liverpool airport. YOU NEED THE SAME CREDIT CARD YOU BOOKED YOUR PARKING WITH howls the ticket machine at the barrier. Luckily....
We get into the airport with continuous threat of being removed and destroyed if we stand in the same place for too long. We arrive at Easyjet, and swoon with relief as our pre-paid hold bags are each under 20kg (otherwise you will charged for extra weight). 'You can take as much hand luggage on as you like' the notice sings, as long as:
a) it fits into this tiny cage here.... anything bigger and into the hold it goes... and of course you will be penalised.
b) you have no problem with lugging heavy cases and bags through security and around the airport.
Once checked in, we get through security. I have to put a small bottle of perfume and lipstick in a small plastic bag to show the security man at the first barrier. I don't have a plastic bag, I say. 'Then buy one at the machine for 50p' he says. Rip off? I think so. I show him my two items in the bag, and they are never asked for again. A good revenue earner for the aiport - definitely. When we get to security we see huge waste bins full of deodorant, baby lotion, medicine, water bottles... stuff that folk have been forced to chuck out as a result of security rules that no-one seems to understand in advance.
Don't worry- I had put my nail scissors in the hold bags, so a national incident didn't ensue. I took off my boots, and was body searched. All part of procedure.. by the time I got to the other end my nerves were jangling. The worst was still to come....