You are counting down the minutes. You are terribly late for a flight that is less than an hour away. There is nothing to do….of course you know….just go on auto-pilot and you’ll make it to the gate. It is Schiphol after all, the distances vast at times, but logical. You run, and run….thankfully you are wearing a pair of battered ballerinas….When you arrive at the check-in there is a queue that looks to last for another 30 minutes. Your prayers are answered when one desk opens an exclusive line destination Sthlm. You have exactly 47 minutes to go.
42 minutes to takeoff
You have just checked in. Tongue traces the inners of your mouth. Capillaries burst in that sprint. Your palate detects iron. Hmm, probably something you need given the amount of stress your system is subjected to. OK, that was a bad a joke.
“Where is D66?” You make a mental note that it is also a political party in NL. Would you ever have voted for them? You are in fact liberal….yes not centre….you are liberal…and a libertine at that.
“That way Miss” a pretty brunette points in the direction right. In stark contrast to your own ugliness. Or perhaps beauty….your definition of it…and that is of course highly subjective.
You start with what you hope will be your last sprint. But within minutes your legs are failing. You literally don’t feel them, and this induces vertigo and confusion. In an attempt to find your way, you stop, read the signs and decide to dare the escalators. This is tricky as you have a life-long battle with this piece of logistic equipment. You known damn well what happens if one of those metal stairs break. You get chewed up…it’s like battling the jaws of a great white. Yeah, you know…just by being curious (you could tell a million stories from the obscure to the obscene…that’s why people both love and despise you).
But set aside this minor detour, you are on for a bigger one…you just don’t know it yet. 30 seconds later and you stand on new soil. One level up, but no D. At this point your body is going into complete numbness and your mind into total melt-down. Elevator, lift…you need one. There are two, one for staff and the other one is out of order. You can only take the stairs down. Luggage dragging behind you, and your right hand steady on the banister, you descent to what feels like hell.
D59-D87, direction right. You can’t run, and you sound like you are about to suffer an asthma attack (luckily you don’t suffer from that affliction at least). You reach the security within another 5 minutes.
26 minutes to takeoff
You arrive at the security and prep yourself for what is expected of you. Laptop, iPhone, belt.
“Madame, please don’t forget your sunglasses.” You just gained another 10 years in seniority you muse.
You place them neatly on your Moschino jacket, despite feeling like you are about to faint. They must believe you are a drug courier. If it wasn’t for your impeccable travel record, the alarm systems would be going off at this point.
You fail to raise your arms properly nor step on the assigned spots for the obligatory body scan.
“Are you ok?” you hear a voice.
“No”. No are definitely not ok.
“Do you need to sit down? Can you tell what is wrong?”
“Flight” you are hissing, waiving your boarding card. “I can’t feel my legs” you manage.
The security guard steadies you, and you grasp his arm like it’s the last thing you will ever hold before the plane goes down. Yes, you are being slightly over dramatic not to say apocalyptic.
“Where is D66?”
Again it’s right. How funny, this is as far right as D66 would ever venture.
“About 7 minutes if you run.”
“I can’t run” you decry trying to look him straight in the eyes, but failing miserably.
“All right, do you need any help? We can get someone to escort you?”
“No it’s ok” you decline the offer as politely as you can muster. You are NOT in a wheelchair yet.
18 minutes to takeoff
You walk as fast as you can and thankfully D66 is not that far away (perhaps a new party slogan – never far away, a contract worth aiming for LOL). Just another set of escalators and then one of those walking treadmills (What do you call them in correct English?).
You reach the gate. It’s one level down and so once more you step on ene of those monsterous, logistic devices. About three minutes later and you join the queue. For some reason half of the passenger list decided to turn up late. Lucky you.
When you finally sink down in your seat, the 737 taxing out to the runway, you feel a cold breeze on your flustered cheeks.
It was a long time since you were home. You can’t wait to escape this madness…