Airport Dares – The Escalator.
We’ve all seen Elf. For those of you who haven’t, stop reading this now, go and watch Elf, then resume reading.
As I was saying, we’ve all seen Elf.
Will Ferrell at his best. What could be better entertainment than watching an Elf innocently play with the boundaries of social conduct as we know them? Hilarious viewing.
I’ve always been intrigued by what we consider appropriate social behaviour. Programmes such as 3 Non Blondes captivated me from a young age. I’d often think of scenario’s that I’d act out if I had my own sketch show or even just the opportunity and balls to play them out.
This opportunity finally came. Not the sketch show; I am still waiting to hear from the BBC to contact me about that (despite them having no clue that I exist anywhere other than as a name on a TV License and an awkward appearance at Pebblemill Studio at the age of 13, where on the eve of Children in Need, I was stood right next to the camera man, consequently NOT appearing on TV).
The opportunity to play out my sketches in front of an unsuspecting public arrived, as did the balls to do it. With the assistance of my fearlessly mischievous 7 year old daughter, Pheebs and a close friend, Emily (both of whom are avid Elf fans), Airport Dares was born.
In the words of the story pitching guys in Elf, picture this…
Setting: Palma Airport, Majorca
Time: 7pm (local time)
Flight status: Delayed
After a long awaited, much needed two week break in my favourite part of Majorca, Puerto Pollensa, (which deserves a separate article singing its many praises), I found myself very reluctant to return home. I was living in a shed at the bottom of a garden at the time so the comfort of the private apartment was going to be sorely missed. I can’t say that I was hugely disappointed to learn that our flight was delayed, I was still in Majorca, and there are far worse places to be stranded.
We did what many would do in this situation, headed for the bar. One last Majorcan beer was a welcome idea.
2 beers later… still stranded with no further updates regarding our flight. The flight information board still said delayed and we had done no further investigation. The cool refreshing Majorcan beer was getting warm rather quickly due to the heat and humidity so we had to keep on top of it, drinking a little faster than we might if we were in our local pub back home in England. We decided a good old fashioned game of dares was in order to pass the time.
With a view of the airport escalator and armed with beer induced balls, I accepted the challenge to reenact the scene from Elf where Buddy attempts to go on an escalator for the first time.
I collected my hand luggage sized suitcase and strode confidently over to the escalator. With Emily filming, I couldn’t forfeit the dare. It’s not in my nature. I could not lose face over pretending to be scared of the escalator.
I queued. People queued behind me. The passengers in front of me stepped onto the escalator effortlessly and glided up to the top. The queue was going down fast. My heart rate was speeding up as fast as the queue was going down. My turn. Shit. What a silly idea. I’m going to look like a right pleb. God it was fun though. The excitement nearly spilled out of me like a child squealing whilst playing hide and seek when they know they’ve got a good spot.
I put my right foot on the bottom step, I quickly retreated it. Then again. And back. I was doing a tip, tap, toe dance with an escalator. The lady behind me had moved forward, bumping into me. I wasn’t ready. I was still hesitating. She asked if I was okay. I apologised and explained that I was afraid of the impending journey (the escalator not the plane – that clearly wasn’t coming). I left the queue. I walked to the back of the queue to ‘try’ again. One woman kindly told me that she understood, her daughter had the same ‘fear’. I tried to stifle my laugh but it came out with an added unwelcome snort. I passed it off as nervous laughter. I had pictured her daughter as an Elf. It was my turn again. After a few more hesitations on the bottom step, I firmly planted my right foot on the step. The step moved, my right foot moved with it, stretching out my right leg until I was almost doing the splits. Of course, my left foot hadn’t left the ground. I shuffled my left foot forward onto the new bottom step, legs outstretched, about 3 steps apart. I was dragging my suitcase along in the gap between my legs. Everyone was looking at me in an uncomfortable, odd way. I could hear Emily laughing. I had done it. I was the star of my own sketch show, even if the only audience was Emily, Pheebs and the unsuspecting public of Palma Airport. I remained in that position for what seemed like the longest escalator ride of my life (until that point, the one in Hong Kong is actually much longer).
Following this, we enquired about the status of our flight. It turned out that our flight was taking off as I was pratting about on the escalator. Note to self (I’d say to others too but apparently everybody already knows this)…if your flight is delayed, you still check in. You still go to the gate. You don’t find the nearest bar before even getting to the departures lounge.
We returned to Puerto Pollensa. I started looking for jobs.