HOLIDAY SPECIAL: WHAT I DONE IN MAJORCA – PART TWO
In the previous episode, I talked about luggage for a few hundred words until I eventually got around to the bit where my family and I got to the airport. There was some snobbery and some stuff about wee – a theme which continues, to a greater or lesser extent, throughout this installment.
As we rejoin the action, we’re about to get on a plane.
After presenting our home printed boarding passes – which really takes the sheen away from the whole process – to the Jet 2 lady, we were obliged to actually walk out to our flight. It was a Boeing 737. The walk itself; seeing the aircraft up close, did something to restore a bit of the holiday magic, kind of like setting out on a mission… Kind of. I mean, it wasn’t The Right Stuff.*
*The film about astronauts; not the Channel 5 afternoon topical debate show.
Anyway, on we got.
My missus – I’m reluctant to call her Mrs. Dadzilla, as that feels somehow “bent” – had booked us seats just a few rows back from the front of the plane, ahead of the wing. The exact seating order had already been decided some months in advance: The wife and kids would sit together, with my other half sandwiched between the two boys. Being a gentleman, I would sit in the aisle seat of the adjacent row.
For the longest time, this appeared to have worked out pretty well for me. The minutes rolled by, with the heavily made up cabin crew ladies taking furtive looks at their watches – take off drawing near. It looked for all the world as though I’d have two spare seats next to me, ideal for dumping shit on; maybe even a sprawl out an hour or so into the near 3 hour flight.
Just as they appeared to be on the verge – no, I’ll tell you what, let’s spice things up – AS the crew were closing the heavy duty main door at the front of the 737, a tattooed hand appeared, pushing back. In tumbled a MASSIVE BALD MACKEM MUSCLE MAN; his RADGE WIFE and BABY, plus their 4 or 5 TEENAGE STEP SONS (all of whom, it turned out, were named “Reece”).
IN FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
Clearly out of breath and flustered, the gang made their way forward with MACKEM MUSCLE MAN in the lead. Consulting their boarding passes like a map to Curly’s Gold, the inevitable started to happen.
“REYT REYCE, WEYAH HEYAH! YEWSE GAN HEYAH – REYCE! COME HEYAH!”
…And so on. I did the old seat shuffle two-step, hopping out into the aisle as the MACKEM FAMILY occupied all available space. I got a nice, “THANKS MAYTEY!” out of it.
And that was me fucked for the next two hours and 40 minutes.
For the benefit of you, the reader, I’m obliged to cover the raw excitement of take off. In fairness, it is the good bit.
My boys seemed to love it – they certainly weren’t afraid from what I could tell. You’d be a cynical person indeed not to enjoy the sheer acceleration as the pilot – (or at least the one you’ve conjured up a mental image of) – pushes the throttle forward; the sudden jolt and fun wooziness as the plane leaves the ground.
It lasts for all of 40 seconds, and then the crushing mundanity of air travel kicks in.
I read once – possibly in the novel ‘Hannibal’ – that modern airlines offer you less seating space than a Roman slave Galleys in say, 100 BC. I’ve no intention of researching that, but I am prepared to believe that it’s true. It certainly felt like it on that flight.
MACKEM MUSCLE MAN was, from the off, no great believer in personal space. He’d spent good steriod money on those fucking stupid arms, and they were going to travel in comfort. I spent the bulk of the journey with his left elbow wedged in my sternum, and he would occasionally use me as launch pad whilst craning around to point something out to one of the Reeces.
“REYCE! REYCE! LOOK OWT THE WINDUH! YOU CAN SEE, GEYT, HOWSES AND THAT!”
I settled in, did my best to get used to it, and attempted to read my copy of Empire over the top of his arm (which, naturally, was covered in tattoos of assorted dead relatives).
As I mentioned earlier, MACKEM MUSCLE MAN and his angry faced wife had themselves a baby. He was a pudgy little fella, and – in comparison to some shit I had to endure later in this tale (spoiler alert!) – didn’t really cry all that much. What he did do was flail about a lot whilst making a strained groaning noise.
Not long into our incredible voyage through the skies, MACKEM MUSCLE MAN and WIFE had clearly got a bit bored of the kid. Crying and bawling were just ignored for the most part. Through some process of almost glacial drift, the baby started to encroach more and more into my – already severely compromised – personal space.
At one point, whilst chatting to his missus, fully half of the baby – the bit with legs on – transitioned onto my lap. “Christ,” I thought, “I’m going to get lamped for being a peado at this rate.”
Thankfully, MACKEM MUSCLE MAN – AKA. Tripple M – woke up to the situation and shifted his son off the specky stranger’s knees.
“HEYAH, SORRY MAYTE!”
We even shared a joke.
“HEYAH,” he said, offering me the baby. “D’YEW WANT A HOWELD! HAHAHAAHA! HEV YEWSE SEYN THIS REYCE!! HAHAHAA!!”
I just sort of smirked and nodded a bit.
From that point, the MACKEM BABY seemed to become aware of my existence. I now not only had 25% of his dad up in my grill, I also had the kid staring at me intently. His eyes – and this is true – his eyes were only 1.5 cm apart.
SOME OBSERVATIONS ON FLYING WITH JET 2.
Flying with Jet 2 – and, I would imagine all discount airlines – is like being in the grip of some bullshit commercial Radio Station that’s in league with a crappy shopping channel. They even have pre-recorded corporate announcements, where a pally, chipper man talks at you in an Estuary English “mobile phone top up” voice, over contemporary pop hits.
You are – in a very literal sense – a captive audience. As soon as they’ve got the lackluster safety instruction dance out of the way – with a brief pause to flog hot drinks, chocolate and booze – the sales pitch kicks in.
This consists of extra special up in the sky offers for things like:
- Fancy watches
- More fucking perfume
- Nic-nacs and shite
MMM and at least three of the Reeces behind me bought Man perfumes, which I refuse to sanction. My wife, it became clear after the trolley buggered off, had blown some credit card money on a watch.
Fair enough. We were on holiday.
Despite being only a couple of feet away, for the bulk of the flight I was completely detached from my family. The noise, trolley traffic, and stream of people going for a wobbly legged piss prevented easy discourse.
So there I was. Cut off. Able to look at my family, but not interact with them… Like a Christmas ghost, but on a plane. An economy class Odysseus, if you will, cruelly separated from the love of my life and the fruit of my loom. Apart from the 3 or 4 times when I had to take them for a wobbly legged piss. The boys that is, not my missus.
Anyhoo…. The flight dragged on. At one point, MACKEM MUSCLE MAN (M cubed) got out a magazine of his own. It was a body building magazine, and the act of reading it required him to move his elbow up into my right eye socket, which dislodged my spectacles.
LANDING AND BAGGAGE COLLECTION
Eventually, after what felt like a very long time, we landed in Palma airport. It was overcast and sort of muggy, and it took me a good few minutes to get used to having my full range of movement back. At this point, I was separated from the MACKEM MUSCLE CREW as they were herded onto a separate bus. It was probably for the best, as I was starting to develop a weird Stockholm syndrome thing for them.
After assorted, slightly friendlier passport checks, etc. we more or less followed the crowd to the baggage dispensary bit. It was here that I witnessed the first of TWO ladies in their late 50’s fall over during the holiday.
The first one was a woman who, after hearing a little klaxon sound, decided it would be a good idea to sit on the luggage conveyor belt. She made an audible “phooo” sound, indicating her relief at taking the weight off her feet, before being jolted suddenly; carried along for a few feet, and then dumped on the ground in a heap. Still, she enjoyed a nice laugh about it, and her tena pad probably had a good workout.
You’ll be glad to hear that the yellow ribbons on our luggage worked well, as planned.
Scorpion 85 was just about the last bag to make an appearance, and it was making a loud and somewhat suspicious vibrating sound. Someone – or something – had switched on my shite, battery operated beard trimmer and just chucked it back in the top pocket.
And then we got on a bus.
By the time we got outside it was pissing down, and kind of cold. We followed a bunch of Jet 2 signs, and were escorted to our waiting coach. The driver who took our bags spoke no English, but that was fine as we spoke no Spanish. Some gesturing at a hotel name on a bit of paper did the trick.
After a brief, fast paced warning from a nice Spanish Jet 2 woman for us to avoid fake Jet 2 people – which none of us fully understood – we were off. It was a good hour and a half coach trip, for the most part through narrow country lanes. I put my coat on, turned off the air vents above my seat, settled down and joined my sons in having a little sleepy.
At long last, cold as balls and knackered, we arrived in Cala D’or and the Esmerelda Gardens hotel. It was still raining.
NEXT TIME: THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY IN FULL!!! PLUS THAT STUFF ABOUT LATE NIGHT KARAOKE BARS.
* Frantic, feverish waving