I had woken up good and early on Tuesday morning. Half past five in the morning to be precise so technically there was nothing good about it, unless you are a dog and then it was Extra Super Fun day.
I was due to pick up my brother from the airport and his flight landed at quarter to eight. I only live fifteen minutes tops from the airport so any sensible person would have reasoned that the flight would arrive and it would take a least fifteen minutes to disembark before all the other kerfuffle that border protection insist upon to welcome you to a country. I had plenty of time to get there and it would take him at least an hour to get out.
Travelling from Thailand you are not allowed to bring fluids in from Duty Free. I am not sure if this is security or a trade tiff, but I remember standing in Suvarnabhumi airport a few years clutching a huge bottle of Tanqueray gin priced at something like $6.00 and almost weeping at the news that I could not bring it home. So I knew that the first port of call from my brother would be the Duty Free shop at Perth Airport, which would be packed and then the luggage hall and finally the friendly face of passport control.
Despite this, I like to be at the airport for the plane arriving. Don’t ask me why, I get funny around airplanes. I entered the flight number into a flight tracker on my phone, saw that it was on schedule and felt that all was right in the world.
The extra half hour I gave myself allowed me time to write my morning pages and still feel confident that I would make it in good time. The problem with an extra half hour is that I somehow expand it in my mind to fit enough stuff to fill a week. I found myself throwing a cardigan I had soaked overnight into the washing machine so I could get that done while walking the dogs and tick another thing off my to do list.
Although the forecast had threatened rain all week, it was a beautiful morning, very relaxing. It was still not fully light and the sky was peppered with tiny pink snatches of cloud, like cherry blossom. The trees at the edge of the park, inky black and stretching their branches to the sky providing a stark contrast. I was so taken with the image, I took a photo and stopped to tweet it, because I had that extra half an hour.
Except I didn’t of course, I had already burned my extra half an hour by some distance and then my phone pinged to inform me that while I had been tweeting about the pretty sky, the leadfoot Thai pilot had powered his craft through the fluffy pink clouds and landed at Perth airport twenty minutes ahead of schedule, the bastard.
Now it as a race against time to get out and to the airport in time to be at the gate before my brother. I arrived home and went to the washing machine to pull the cardigan out because leaving damp wool scrunched up in there all day was not going to be a good idea. The clock on the dial calmly informed me that the cycle still had four minutes to go.
Not to worry, I told myself, plenty of time and I busied myself getting my bag ready for work and hiding treats around the house for the dogs so all I had to do was remove the cardigan as soon as the washing machine was done.
The dial on the machine said one minute. It kicked into a fast spin cycle.
I waited by the machine and noted through gritted teeth that the model I have is called a Time Manager.
‘You are not managing my time,’ I said to it, ‘You are stealing my time.’
The machine spun on happily, wringing water from my cardigan.
I waited. That minute seemed to have been going for at least half an hour. I just needed this to be over and I could go.
The machine continued. It seemed to be getting faster and faster.
7: 45 am. I was technically late, even if the plane had not been early. I pictured my brother ambling around Duty Free, pondering the various merits of whiskies. I tried to remember to breathe.
The machine carried on spinning. I snapped.
‘Right that is way more than a minute,’ I shouted at it. ‘You have had more time than you said you needed.’
I reached down and switched the machine off and went to open the door. The door would not open, because front loader machines have a child lock to infuriate adults who are in a hurry.
‘GODDAMN YOU; GIVE ME MY GODDAMN CARDIGAN, YOU BASTXXXD.’
That ought to do it, all right.
I kicked the machine and tugged again at the lock. Finally after the requisite number of seconds it had to wait, it clicked open.
I drove to the airport and after navigating the main carpark which was full (obviously) I arrived breathlessly at the arrivals gate and looked up at the board. It was 8:08 am and my brother was still inside. He remained there for a further twelve minutes, before walking slowly through into the arrivals hall.
I arranged myself into the nearest approximation of a sane sister that I could manage. The sort who would never be found guilty of assault and battery of white goods, then I gave him a hug.
‘Welcome home,’ I said.