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11 May 2007

If you whistle while I wait……

Richard considers murder most horrid at Cardiff Airport.

By Richard Herring

My tour took me to Belfast this week, just as old enemies were almost shaking hands and getting on with a new life. I don’t think it was directly as a result of my visit. Though my material about Jesus does tend to unite Protestants and Catholics in hatred of me, so you never know.

I had been to a stag night the day before and was a little tired and emotional by the time I got to Cardiff airport where I was flying from. So it was a little wearing to find at the departure gate that only one X-Ray machine was working and there were dozens of people in the queue in front of me and things were moving very slowly.

It was clearly going to take the best part of an hour to get through security and I just wanted to sit down and try and forget the fact that I was alive. The wait was made worse by the fact that there was a couple in their Seventies behind me, and the man had a strange, nervous habit of whistling whenever he wasn’t speaking.

It wasn’t even pretty whistling, it was quiet, off key random whistling that was almost under his breath, like a radio tuning button being steadily turned, and only very briefly settling on anything like a melody. In my state it felt as bad as the worst kind of torture that George W Bush could have thought up to try and discombobulate a slightly brown man who he thought might be a terrorist.

The old fella was right behind me and the almost whistling was ringing in my weary ear. To begin with I looked round at him sharply, trying to convey the message that his constant non-musical accompaniment to life was not appreciated. But he clearly didn’t understand. I think it was very likely that he didn’t even know he was doing it.

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I looked into the eyes of his wife.

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How could she stand this? Had she just tuned it out? Was she unable to hear it? Or was her frustration accumulating like mine and one day soon she would snap and bury an axe deep into his head, only to find that even when he was dead the whistling was so engrained in her head that it would continue to haunt her?

Of course I could have turned round and politely asked the old fella if he would mind stopping awful cacophony, but that just seemed impossibly rude. He had kindly old eyes and a shock and white hair that reminded me of my own late grandfather and though he would probably apologise and desist, I knew that to ask him would crush him and possibly confuse him (if he wasn’t really aware of the fact he did this). But the queue had only moved about three feet in the last twenty minutes and I already wanted to punch him in his stupid old man’s face.

I tried to tune out and listen to the conversation of the people in front of me, but they were tiny, weird little Welsh folk who were telling each other amusing anecdotes from their boring lives, which were not amusing and I wanted to punch them in the face too.

In this tiny room surrounded by pale-faced, fat, frustrated holiday-makers with inanity and whistling all around I began to hate all humanity and crave death either for all of them or just me. Ultimately I thought it would be best if just I survived, with maybe a few hundred people to keep the infrastructure of the country going, but they would live underground out of sight.

I wondered if genocide really was such a bad thing. Humans hold themselves in such high regard, but in this security waiting pen in Wales, with a hangover and noise torture going on it didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Maybe Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot just had hangovers on the days they committed their worse atrocities.

Because things were running late, the plane to Amsterdam was ready to go and yet many passengers were still in the queue, so they were allowed to push in and go to the front, further delaying things.

I scanned the faces of the people around me, just looking for one person who didn’t deserve death. But I couldn’t find one. All of them looked like they just sucked up the earth’s resources, pumped out pollution to destroy the planet and contributed nothing of any value.

I wondered if I could institute a new political system in which people had to justify their own existence – once you were over 18 you had to go and defend yourself in court and prove that you contributed more to the world that you took away and if you weren’t pulling your weight you were ground up in a big mincing machine and made into sausages.

I would be in charge of deciding who survived and who became a sausage, which would be my contribution to things. The sausages could be given to dogs or any people who fancied eating them.

For the 55 minutes I waited to have my bag X-rayed, with whistling in my ear, this seemed like a great idea.

As I got closer to the end and my freedom from this Hell became closer, it started to seem funnier than it had. Half an hour before there had been a point where I was empathising with Hitler and wondering if Al Quaida were actually on to something, but now I began to feel that maybe people weren’t so bad after all and that probably genocide was wrong in nearly every case. Though most genocides are racially motivated, which is stupid and wrong, but if the genocide is based on ability or lack of then surely it isn’t as bad.

Soon enough I was in the departure lounge and away from my whistling nemesis I calmed down considerably. Then a terrible thought struck me. What if he was on my plane and was sitting next to me?

Luckily he wasn’t. Because after another 50 minutes of that I would doubtless have hijacked the plane and flown it into some massive building in the hope of taking as many of the pointless humans with me as possible.

If I am ever standing in an election to become Prime Minister or something then for the love of God and all that is Holy, do NOT vote for me!