I picked The Incubator up from the airport yesterday afternoon. The Daughter's excitement was so profound that she needed three toilet breaks before clapping eyes on her grandmother, and two after. The term "peed and went blind" took on a whole new literal meaning for me.
I'm not going to lie: I, too, was excited to see her. My mom and I are wont to share the odd glass of wine together. She's a groovy old wench, is The Incubator. I like her. And, besides which, every time I spoke to her during her sojourn, she'd say something like, "I'm so buggered. I've walked Oxford Street/Camden Market/Petticoat Lane/Portabella Road flat today.". You, too, would have been excited.
So, there we were, squashed against the railings at International Arrivals at King Shaka Airport. There were so many people pushing against us with such force, that I thought the railing might sever me in half. I have a permanent indentation - just below the rib cage.
And we waited. And waited. And lost oxygen supply to the brain. Then the first person emerged: a damn fine looking businessman. (I nearly abandoned my Dutiful Daughter post to make acquaintance with said hottie-hot-pants but he was swallowed by the frenzied crowd in less time than you could say "shake-a-my-kun".). And then a well-groomed granny (with a full face of make-up on) strolled through. She looked so fresh that there was little sign she'd just flown across continents. Just one small indicator of her long journey: camel toe. Why do people insist on travelling in jeans? They're going to creep. And you're going to feel molested. The tracksuit pant, in my humble opinion, was expressly designed for long distance travel.
A few ragged souls emerged. Followed by The Incubator and The Beauty Therapist. You know when you recognise someone but something's amiss? Well, that's what I experienced. She looked just like my mother, but something was wrong. And so I had to do the mental check list: hair (done) - check. Face (done) - check. Shirt (hers, selected by me) - check. Jeans (error, but whatever) - check. Shoes (have seen before - definitely hers) - check. Body (some weight loss, but to be expected) - check. Backpack ... what the hell? When did she become a lesbian?
We stayed up late last night, trying on new purchases and chatting and sinking bottles of red. And I took the opportunity to rip her off. I reminded her of the, "You're not a lesbian, are you?" conversation. She blushed. She made up feeble excuses (I just had too much stuff to fit it all in my suitcase). But fact remains: she owns a backpack.
And it's worrying.