Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Going Home

Schiphol Airport, June 6, 2011, way too early in the morning.

When you have a scheming plan and things aren’t quite working out, it’s sometimes hard to stay optimistic and continue to consider the glass “half full”.  Despite things not quite working out the way I had hoped, I do still have a smidge of optimism left – though it’s getting less and less by the minute. 

After my lovely flight experience on the way coming, I decided to try my luck again for my return flight.  After all, this flight will be an hour longer (due to wind direction) and thus, some extra legroom would be a detail that would make the trip oh so much more comfy.  Given that the Dutch people are known for their punctuality, I figured that I should make sure to be at the airport 4 hours prior to departure (as opposed to the 3 that is being suggested).  Seriously, that would increase my chances of finding a (preferably male) KLM rep, who would be able to provide me with a seat by the emergency exit in exchange for a cute smile, right?  One small detail: flight departs at 9:50AM.  It doesn’t take a math expert to figure out that this means being at the airport friggin’ early.

So, alarm goes off at 3:30AM, Mommy is at Schiphol airport at 6:00AM.  Lovely.  (This is pre-caffeine.)  In an attempt to appear more “futuristic” – but honestly, I think it’s due to budget cuts – there are no more humans who do the check-in process.  Only "ATM machines".  There goes the cute-smile-to-cute-guy-behind-the-counter-idea.  I could smile all I wanted, but the ATM machine didn’t provide me with the anticipated (and desired) response.  All emergency exit seats were taken.  How?  I was one of the first people there for God’s sake!!!  Turns out that in the country where you have to pay EURO 0.50 (that’s almost $1!!) to use the bathroom in a department store, you actually can pay extra for the emergency seats, the day before when you check in online.  Well, we all know where the online check in got me the last time, so instead I spent my day in Amsterdam.

So, here we are: it’s 7:00AM, I have a boarding pass for seat 38D.  At least it’s an aisle seat.  Yes, my glass is still half full.

After check in and going through customs, my plan included some sort of caffeinated drink and a Belgian waffle.  Yes, Belgian.  I know, this ain’t Belgium, this is The Netherlands, but despite that small detail, the Belgians did once come up with the genius idea to sell their overly-delicious-sooo-to-die-for Belgian waffles in their neighboring country.  Turns out: no waffle to be found here.  Should have had one yesterday.  BUT…the glass’s still half full people.  I refuse to let that get me down.

Off to my gate to sit back and write.  Lovely.  Some peace and quiet, some reminiscing, some looking forward.  Perfect.  Gate – Check.  Chairs – Check.  Peace & Quiet – Check.  Outlets to plug my laptop-without-any-battery-life in – [nasty buzzer sound].  Not an outlet to be found.  Seriously.  I looked on each pillar, alongside the wall, around the seats, in the waiting areas.  People probably thought I was up to something.  No outlets to be found.  Not one!  Really?  I ask a Schiphol employee.  Yes, there was one behind the luggage trolleys; I could move those and sit on the ground.  Really?  You gotta be kiddin’!  Surely the benches and tables around in the restaurant area have some sort of electrical supply for my antique Powerbook?  Indeed, they had.  Sit down.  Open laptop.  Peace.  Quiet.  Bliss.  Glass still half full.

Did I say “quiet”?  Oops.  Wrong!  As I got 2 sentences written and for the first time mentioned the glass being half full, a "gentle"man positioned himself next to me.  Obviously in desperate need for a source of electricity as well.  No problem.  Yes problem.  He plugs his iPod in and starts playing music through this laptop.  Right next to me.  I can write, I can listen to music, but if I want to do either one of these well, I certainly shouldn’t do them at the same time.  Especially, if it’s not my music.  Seriously, at this point my glass was starting to become a little less “half full”.  Me move.  Me find other outlet.  Me sit down and me start writing.

In the meantime “moppie”, a German Shepherd mix of some sort, came by with an agent, checking every passenger and their belongs for (I assume) either drugs of explosives.  Awesome.  Love that and have so much respect for those dogs.  Unfortunately “moppie” (as the agent called him and which is Dutch for “sweetie”) got a little distracted with the backpack of the lady sitting opposite of me.  She apparently had packed her lunch (as Dutch people do) and given that we are the Cheese Mecca of the world…well, you see where that went.  Very funny.  No, “Moppie” didn’t consume the sandwich, but it certainly posed as a short-lived distraction.

I remember enjoying my “last” Frappuccino at LAX airport a week ago when I was about to embark on this awesome journey.  I remember thinking that I wouldn’t get one for a whole week.  Well, the American coffee culture has also penetrated our little coffee-obsessed country and though I doubt that Starbucks will ever take over the coffee culture as we know it here, they do exist and there is one branch here at Schiphol airport.  No Belgian waffles, but hey, there’s Starbucks.  I’d prefer a Belgian waffle though.  Unfortunately I am slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that it is what it is and my chances of getting a Belgian waffle here are as small as me ending up with a seat next to the emergency exit on my 11-hour flight.  I think my glass is still somewhere close to half-full, but I am not as sure as I was earlier this morning when I woke up.  I think I am going to treat myself to my Caramel Frappuccino.  I have a feeling that might help fill the glass a bit more.

1 comment:

PB Rippey said...

What an experience!!! Hope you got that coffee. Well, you tried your best. Sorry you were outdone by a MACHINE. But welcome home!

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