The airport was humming softly and busily, and the check-in desks were queued from two miles away, and the Stansted Radisson Hotel was standing calmly and cooly smelling of lemongrass. I was in a check-in line, one of the first people, and the only one humming.
A lady with a kerchief on her head was in front of me, then a young man with red hair and yellow and black paraphernalia of Machine Head scatted about his luggage and clothes (costume? uniform?), and then a foreign couple with dark olive skin and short hair. Caught in a daydream about carpeted floors and acrobats catching wine bottles, I didn't realise how fast the line was moving until I had automatically stepped up to the desk.
"I'm traveling alone, this is my only piece of baggage, I haven't got anything sharp and I haven't left my luggage anywhere and nobody has asked me to carry anything," said I, all in a rush. I relinquished my passport and a crumpled piece of paper with flight reservation numbers and pass-codes on it, lifted my luggage onto the belt, and looked up.
"Ah! Zank you. I feel like a par-rot by thees time mos' days," said the woman in the blue suit behind the desk with a decided accent.