Lessons on stress response

The simplest of pressures are often amplified when we are met with people barking out orders at us. We’ve probably all been there – at airport security fumbling through backpacks or carry ons to remove laptops and tablets whilst the security staff shout at us in military tones to put the right object in the right sized tray.

Put this here. Take that out. Remove this. And that. Toiletries must fit into the plastic bag. The bag must be sealed to pass through. One plastic bag only. It must be sealed, Madam. Your plastic bag is not sealed. It won’t go through.  Madam the contents of your plastic bag are falling out. The bag must be sealed or else contents will not go through.

Madam one plastic bag only and it must be sealed. Madam perhaps you should leave an item behind? No! The plastic bag was sealed before, it can be sealed again. I step out the queue and kneel on the floor to re-pack and re-seal the infamous plastic bag. I refuse out of principle to leave anything behind. I can do this. Only one thing matters in those minutes. Re-pack, re-seal. Minutes pass, pressure mounts, the bag is resolutely un-sealable. Defeated I remove a small almost empty tube of face cream. Still the seal resists popping shut. I have gift tape in my bag! I defiantly tape the plastic bag so it’s sealed. They never said it had to self-seal. Just that it had to be sealed and it is. I march back over to the conveyor belt and joylessly fill the trays following the grating commands of the security staff.

No Madam put your handbag in here, with your coat. Take off your jacket. Push the tray here. Now fill another one with your suitcase. In an impudent act of independence I throw the removed tube of cream into the tray holding the sealed plastic bag. It clatters in full sight of the security staff.

I walk through the alarm sensor and wait for my three trays to appear. There they are. And there’s the taped up sealed plastic bag and the solitary, orphaned tube of cream – out of the bag, untouched, coming through outside the mandatory sealed plastic bag without a scratch and without being repossessed. I pocket it with a shrug. Still a bit too stressed to smile. Though I am now, after writing this!

copyright Amanda Yensa Manor 2015


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