“Say Hello, Wave Goodbye”

“Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” by Tony Parsons is written from a third-person limited point of view which the narrator only knows the thoughts and feelings of Jaswinder ‘Jazz’ Smith, who have been working as an immigration officer of the UK Border Agency. In this short story, the narrator talks about Jazz’s life at work. After every long-haul flight landing, she is presented with passengers that are to be examined. It is their job to alert and forbid passengers who come to the United Kingdom for the wrong purposes. With her new partner, who’s a young officer, Norm who been working mostly Customs, she was able to show her growth and superior as the story goes on.

The setting takes place in modern times UK airport where people on the queues with odd cases, were asked to sit in the Not-Ok Corral until further notice. Jazz have possibly met countless dodgy characters during her nine-hour shift when she asked for their purpose of visiting, like the Korean bride she encounters who said she was going to marry Prince Harry, Donald Harrison who said President Obama planted a microchip in his brain, Megan with Prince Harry again, a young man in black with drugs who forged his passport, and more. She seems to have got used to it after hearing it from other travelers as well.

Her days at the airport are quite repetitive but aren’t dull. Although she been working for some time at the airport there were still surprising things to see. Like the time she went with Norm to prevent someone from destroying their passport. She has a perception of how passengers who keep coming to the UK and pretends to be someone else would destroy their passports like leaving it on the plane, but she was impressed with the person she was waiting for outside the aircraft who started stuffing his passport just when the plane door opened. When Norm mess up and lost sight of the passport-muncher, Jazz as his senior went and caught him back.

Throughout the short story, the narrator points out the frustration Jazz has with people when they try to deceive her. But she doesn’t mind if they lie to themselves. Why is that? Towards the end where Jazz settles down and further investigates with the passengers in the Not-Ok Corral, something about Megan made her clicks with Jazz. Megan was given a piece of advice about relationships and love. Jazz is shown to be brazen with impostors but is also reasonable. The ending was quite funny when Jazz curiously asks Megan who her lover’s name was. Who could have thought that Megan’s lover would Prince Harry. Where do they get their “purposes of visiting” from?

1 Comment

  1. Professor Sean Scanlan

    Jennifer, thanks for your journal. Good summary!

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