Chekhovian boredom ruled supreme, but the loss of my luggage brought instant relief. Anger beats boredom by a mile, especially when mixed with paranoia about a plot against the rich. Let me explain:
On Monday 21 December, I left the Bagel, destination Switzerland, checking in at the first-class counter of Suisse, as the national airline of Helvetia is now called. I was informed by the friendly Afro-Caribbean lady who checked me in that I would be travelling alone up front. Delighted by the news, I assumed that was the reason she attached no luggage stubs to my boarding pass. She had made me wait for quite a while for no apparent reason, but I had thought nothing of it at the time. Christmas spirit and all that. But it was that delay that was to set off my later paranoia.
After a perfect overnight flight with impeccable on-board service — first class was half full — I waited in vain for my two bags, and waited and waited. Eventually I was told to see a lady, who took down my details and a description of the two missing bags. By this time, my driver, waiting in Zurich airport, was convinced I had missed my flight and called Gstaad to report a missing Greek boy. Although I own a mobile, I had packed it with my books, notebooks and the documents that I travel with in case we ditch on some desert island and I have time to kill. The wife, ringing from our alpine home, got no response and assumed I had missed my flight. But then she remembered speaking to me while I waited to board. He’s up to his usual tricks, she told no one in particular.
She nevertheless instructed Charlie the driver to hang around for longer.