Ok, it’s official. People in Bologna are completely bonkers.
The airport this morning was completely deserted and so I got to breeze through the automated check-in gates without even a hint of a queue. But as soon as I’d scanned my boarding pass and was walking towards security I was confronted with a guard furiously blowing a whistle and waving his hands wildly. I couldn’t for the life of me imagine what I’d done wrong but after a comically overzealous performance, the guard managed to convey that I’d walked through the extra wide gate designed for wheelchairs.
Hell-bent on correcting my misdemeanour, he made me come all the way back to the other side, which wasn’t easy as he had to take me into another bit of the building and through a secure area to achieve this goal. And then of course when I tried to scan my boarding pass again the machine beeped excitedly and wouldn’t let me though because, well, I’d already been through.
He yelled at me again as though it was MY fault the gate wouldn’t work and a chaotic few minutes ensued as other guards got involved, each of them trying out their security passes to get me through the normal-sized gates. In the end, they radioed in a supervisor who turned up and personally escorted me through… wouldn’t you know it… the disabled gate.
Still reeling from the whole farce I went to grab a pastry from a food kiosk. I stood waiting to be served but the girl behind the counter ignored me despite me being the only customer there. Eventually, she turned to me, and with an air of long-suffering exasperation, flicked her hand towards the rear side of the kiosk and told me: “You pay there”.
“But I haven’t ordered yet,” I said
“You pay there!” she told me, irritated.
“But I need to order first. Can I order here? I need to point to what I want…”
“Order there!” she barked.
Obediently I walked around to the other side of the kiosk. When I got there she asked me what I wanted and I told her “I don’t know the name. I need to show you” (there were lines and lines of pastries, none of which were labelled). She rolled her eyes at me and let out a deliberate sigh to make it clear I was very annoying.
So I had to walk back around to where I’d started, point out the pastry I wanted and then walk back to the other side to pay. And once I’d paid I had to walk around the kiosk again to where the pastries were for her to bag it up. But she didn’t bag anything and instead just stared at me expectantly. I wasn’t sure what she wanted so I just looked back at her until she shrugged and demanded “well?”
“Well, what?” I asked, confused.
“Which do you want?”
I lost patience and pointed out the original pastry “That one! The one I ordered only one minute ago from you!”
Well, that was the last straw for her. She stabbed the pastry with her fork, slammed it into the bag and threw the bag at me across the counter. We stood for a few moments both glaring at each other with mutual incredulity. We literally had a stare down contest. It was like when two cats meet in an alley. Backs arched, tails puffed up, slowly moving past each other, holding eye contact until the last second when they each turn and slink off.
Snatching the bag off the counter, I backed away slowly, narrowing my eyes to make sure she understood my contempt and then finally, when the moment felt right, I spun away in my most diva-ish style (quite a hard feat whilst weighed down with a backpack) and marched off, wondering what the hell just happened!
The thing is, I’m sure she’ll tell the story to someone later today. And I wish to God I could hear how she tells it because I literally have no idea why she was so mad at me!
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