Airport Traffic Cops

Traffic Wardens from Hell #666

Image by Ennor via Flickr

In my degree, most of us started working in second year and a common complaint quickly emerged: what we learn in theory isn’t applied in practice. And it’s true to some degree. If someone asks for an antihistamine, other medications don’t usually have an impact on the suggested product. But of course, we learn it all; it’s what allows us to stand behind that counter, check that it’s appropriate therapy and discuss any concerns with the patient in counselling.

However, there’s a point where you just accept that theory and practice don’t line up. I’d certainly like to disabuse a particular airport traffic warden of that notion. In the four years I’ve been here in Australia, picking up someone from the international airport late at night has been a simple process:

  1. Drive to the airport to arrive close to anticipated exit time from customs.
  2. Wait in the pick up lanes (vs. the drop off lanes).
  3. Greet and hug the person(s), then load the car.
  4. Drive off on our merry way.

Tonight was different. I drive there and get in the lane to wait. This middle-aged traffic warden in high-vis clothing walks up and gestures her hand in a circle above her head. I figure she’s indicating the halo that must be above my own head as I’m the very image of a saint. or something. Let’s go with “for being a good child and picking your dad up from the airport.” and for driving a Prius. Ok, my sister’s Prius.

No. I am mistaken. This presumptuous creature strides up to my window and raps on it with her filthy knuckles. (Even if I was in my crappy Toyota Corolla, I don’t care. Don’t touch my car.)  From her gaping maw issues a statement: “You have to circle. You can’t wait here.” I can see some cars moving into the actual pick-up lane behind me, so I thank her politely and make the circuit. I come right back around because I’m acting as per experience. She come right back and repeats her message. I am disappointed her excitement doesn’t match mine at my dad visiting.

After 2 hours of this rigmarole, I realise something. She’s an absolute @#$!-ing idiot. It’s the same 3 cars that are doing this ridiculous circuit you insist on. There’s room in this pick-up lane for 10 cars. It’s not a high-traffic time. And if I get a text message from my Dad saying he’s here, I’m going to !@#%-ing wait in the !@%#!@# lane because I know he’s gotten through customs.

“Well, you’re going to have to park and then come in if he’s not here for you to pick up.”

Uh, no, because that’s not how this goes, you _____ (adjective) _____ (adjective) _____ (adjective) _____ (noun). Don’t you dare imply I’d be incapable of understanding what you’re saying, you racist cow. You walk the traffic lanes at a deserted airport on a Thursday night. And you entirely stuffed up what should’ve been a quick, efficient happy pick up from the airport. _____ (noun).