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The Woman Who Downed an Entire Bottle of Cognac Because She Couldn't Take It on a Plane Is a Hero for Our Time

Ms. Zhao said "fuck you" to the Man so hard a doctor had to usher her screaming, drunk ass into a special little room.

by Joel Golby
Aug 26 2015, 2:05pm

Cognac, being enjoyed—as is traditional—in a small measurement, out of a glass. Photo via Patrick Nygren.

A woman at an airport in Beijing chugged an entire $180 bottle of cognac because she was told she couldn't bring it through the security check and—scene deleted—was later found rolling around, screaming on the floor of the concourse. Airport staff eventually decided against letting her fly. The unspoken subtext here is that she was drunk.

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The woman—thought to be in her mid-40s and known only by her surname, "Zhao"—arrived at Beijing Capitol International Airport ahead of a noon flight transfer to Wenzhou, when she was stopped at security and told she couldn't bring the $180 bottle of Rémy Martin XO Excellence in with her carry-on luggage, according to the Nanfang. So she did the only thing you can do in that situation: she Stuck It to the Fucking Man by going off into a corner and drinking the entire bottle by herself.

Some select quotes, from the Nanfang's account of the ensuing chaos:

"Zhao started acting wildly and yelling incoherently."
"Due to her massive inebriation, when Zhao fell to the floor, that's where she stayed."
"That created a new security problem though, and it had to do with the bottle of cognac that was now inside her."
"Zhao was taken to a convalescence room and was checked out by a doctor."

Eventually, either the pilot or the police (reports vary) decided that, obviously, Zhao was in no state to fly, and she was detained in the convalescence room until 7:00 PM when she abruptly sobered up. Yeah, beats the hell out of your spring break "we had six pints each at the airport before getting on a flight to Jamaica" story, doesn't it? Zhao saw the Man, with his Petty Rules and his Security Concerns and his Liquid Carry-On Restrictions, and went: fuck you. Zhao stared into the white eyes of the Man and said: stick it up your ass. Zhao, a 40-year-old drunk woman from Beijing, is arguably the greatest punk who ever lived.

A lot of people ask me, "Joel, tell us about that time a really hard Polish security guard made you throw a bottle of vodka away." Well, reader: one time a really hard Polish security guard, dressed in military spats and manning an airport check-in desk, made me throw a bottle of vodka away. And, like the wimpy little bitch boy that I am, I did it. I stared into his flinty, soulless blue eyes, and I plunked the tiny bottle of vodka I was trying to bring home into the designated vodka trash. Am I ashamed of myself? I am, I was, I have been ever since. And that's because I don't even have one fraction of the chutzpah that Ms. Zhao had.

You always hear about rappers with their cognac. They enjoy their expensive brandy from the French region of—hold on, let me google it—from the French region of Cognac. But you never hear about 50 Cent downing one entire bottle of it—in an airport, in less than half an hour—then rolling around screaming and rapping. Has Jay-Z ever decked an entire bottle of Rémy Martin then gotten so drunk a doctor had to escort him to a small, pale room? No. Fetty Wap and his Remy Boyz, for all their talk: have they ever gotten so drunk in an airport concourse that police reports have described them as "massively inebriated"? No, no, a thousand times no. But Ms. Zhao has.

Heroes are rare these days, and infrequent are the times we can be truly inspired by our fellow man. But Ms. Zhao, whoever you are, however bad your hangover still is, please know this: you are and always will be my hero. Your actions are the actions of a human being, free and unbreakable, toiling against the large fracture-less face of corporate hostility, of rules upon rules, against the humorless agents of the government machine. Why can't we take 700ml of cognac onto an airplane? Who says we can't scream drunkenly at the police? Here's to feeling good all the time. Here's to drinking so much cognac you're forbidden from leaving the country. Here's to you, Ms. Zhao.

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