For some reason they were re-checking everyone at the gates – passport and boarding cards, just before entry to the plane. As we get to the top of the line the guy doing security, says right away to the kids, looking at their passports, ‘So, two Sheffield lads eh?” and they say yes, nodding, a little hesitant, not sure what this is about. He bends and says to S. “Which team do you support? Blades or Owls?” and S. looks at him for a moment and says Blades. He only dimly cares about football I think but he knows this is the team, and the one that M. used to support back when he was really into football. The security bloke says “Good answer” then he turns to speak to the airline person stood next to him, “Let’s sort out some better seats…”
As new boarding cards appear to be printing he pulls his jumper up to show that beneath it, on his tie, he has a small Blades tie-pin. “They wont let me show this” he says looking round mock-conspiratorial “all the rest of them here are from down South”. And then he gives us the new paperwork. I’m a bit unclear or confused what he’s done exactly, if anything, so I say thanks to him as we enter the walkway but not anything excessive, just like “oh cheers..” or something like that. When we get to the door of the plane though they direct us left.. and we’re shown not to seats but to the lovely booths/folding couches, insanely comfortable with all the legroom in the world and we’re instantly being plied with champagne and people that want to hang our coats somewhere. S. has a sudden excited spike in his football supporting enthusiasm and as the personal-service continues apace whispers to me in a joking/ impressed kind of way that “Now we have butlers…”As we fly I keep thinking of this guy – wishing that I’d said thanks in a proper way – and wondering also about these kind of spaces inside jobs that allow you to subvert them by being randomly nice to people.