It was one of those moments of irrational guilt (writes Simon Robinson). I hadn’t done anything wrong, but a man with an impressive moustache, and wearing a uniform, asked if I could follow him through a door marked private.
If I’d been at one of East Berlin’s more broad minded clubs in the evening after EPCA finished perhaps I’d have been prepared for that. I might even have been looking forward to it (that’s quite unlikely).
This is how I’d got into the situation:. I’d just put all my carry-on baggage through the metal detector at the Airport, asked the nice people about my belt, and been told it would be OK. Then walked through the personal metal detecting arch. Both machines shrieked at once.
The man in the uniform waves his metal detector over me, then he asks me to come with him please. Which I do. We go back past the throng of people and into the room, where an even nicer woman in a uniform is waiting. (This is sounding better) She puts on the rubber gloves, tips me the wink… and I start to wonder what kind of service that Berlin Airport offers to Gold-card members of the Executive Club if this happens to lowly Eurotravelers.
Then it gets disappointing, not that there’s anything wrong with special services, there’s a time a place and industry, that thrives providing them to other sections of society, but surely it would need to be a bit more special than hoovering your hand luggage and laptop.
After this, a perk, something that makes me feel a bit special, I’m ushered back past the waiting passengers.
AND TOLD TO PUT MY LUGGAGE, AND MYSELF, THROUGH THE METAL DETECTOR AGAIN. I’d been metal detected not three minutes before, I’d been with the man all the time. I’d even got a clean bag now. But no. Through the hoops my luggage and I jumped. I even took off my belt. The bag is fine. I get the bell, I get the hand-held metal detector and, maybe just maybe, I’ve found a new friend… Thank heavens he lives in Berlin….