We have raced each other on previous occasions, but it’s usually a race to a finishing line. You see I am fairly (actually extremely) organised. I had planned, sorted, shopped, packed and re-packed carefully, paying attention to every detail. What I had not planned for, however, was my fiancé. He tells me he does not PLAN to leave things to the last minute but that it is just a “personality trait”.
I could sense we were heading for disaster when five days before we were due to leave, he still had to; fix up his house, sell his house, complete an important and difficult work project, sign a trust resolution, organise a Power of Attorney, shop for needed items and pack his bag. I could visualise what was about to happen, so I decided to take action.
The first step was to organise somebody else to cater for our farewell party. This was met with dismay, “So you want to take away all my fun now?”
The second step was to plead, “Please, please whatever you do just don’t, don’t be late for the airport. That would be the worst thing you can do to me, please.” The third thing I did was plead and the fourth, “Please…”
It was when there was only an hour to go before we were due to leave for the airport, that I witnessed “Panic Packing”. For those of you lucky enough never to have experienced this, let me explain. Panic packing can only happen if you have less than an hour to go. You need to use both hands, working them in opposite directions, as you grab and pull, then grab and throw. Remember to drop and bang items periodically, then push-push-push such items into a suitcase. It is essential that all of the above is accompanied by loud and forceful language. Be sure not to sort and definitely do not fold. Items must be piled in a disorganised heap in the middle of the suitcase as they need to be squashed downwards while using extreme force to zip it all up.
We actually checked in on time, and I saw we had 10 minutes before boarding. “We will have to go straight through.” I said confidently.
“Oh no,” he answered casually; “we still have time for a cappuccino with my family.”
“But there are queues at Passport Control”
“What queues, there are no queues here; this is Cape Town not Joburg.”
“I wish I had brought a tranquilliser for you Cathy. ” Stefan’s sister said, giving me a pitying look. “Stefan ek kan nou weer sien jy gaan die kind op hol jaag. (Stefan I can see you are going to drive her crazy) Aag shame Cathy.”
“Its fine” he said calmly sipping his cappuccino, “they can’t leave without us.”
“We have to go now!” I urged gulping down mine. “And I have to go to the toilet.” I said, in a desperate attempt to get him moving.
We sailed through the security check but on rounding the corner we saw it; the dreaded QUEUE at passport control. We had just joined the queue when we heard a boarding call for our flight, we were somewhere in the middle of the queue when the FINAL call came and a few people were ahead of us when the URGENT FINAL call came. We were met by harried ground staff as we left the passport counter and told to RUN while they frantically gestured towards the boarding gate.
And so we sprinted…
“You see we got here, “he said, panting from exertion, “didn’t I tell you?”
I gave him an exasperated look. We took our seats in stony silence. “Did you SEE the queue?” I asked.
“But you see my darling, if it wasn’t for me you would have nothing to write about. It would all be so boooooring.”
You can technically be on time at the airport, but still be late for your flight.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: 26-05-2013