Schiphol Me Timbers!
I was there
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Have you seen in the news that there are historically long lines at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam?
Well, I stood in those lines yesterday.
I was part of history.
Friends, when I tell you what we beheld as our taxi pulled up to the airport. I feared my skin might detach from my body and drop in a heap at my feet, that my eyes might fall out of my skull and roll all the way to the hot tarmac where they would be crushed by a luggage cart heavy with some tiny percentage of the thousands of pieces of luggage which, due to a luggage handling crisis, (related to this line though not its entire cause) had been abandoned at Schiphol, Europe’s 4th busiest airport, over the course of the last week.
I have seen some long security lines in my life but this line erased all of those lines from my memory.
The line was all powerful. It taunted all who dared gaze upon it. It could not be real. It was. I thought of Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” saying “I’m not going to be be ignored, Dan,” which was obviously this line’s favorite movie quote.
This line was like if Christo were going to do one of his Christo things with fabric but did it with people.
Our taxi dropped us far into the middle of the line and we had to walk back a very long way to even join it, hear this, and absorb it, we had to walk alongside the same line we were about to stand in just to get into it, for at least fifteen minutes. Granted this happened because we initially thought that’s not OUR line OUR line surely must be different. But it wasn’t. It was our line, and everyone else’s, we are all Dan, also, because I’m getting emotional here, #schipholstrong2022.
Only carry-ons were allowed. We were good, but all around us people were trying to consolidate their luggage. I imagine many treasures and also much junk was left behind. “I left everything at Schiphol and I feel so liberated,” was probably a theme, in addition to rage.
We had an hour and fifty five minutes once we got into the line. We’d gotten to the airport two and a quarter hours early for a one and a half hour flight to Spain, part of which, and I don’t even know why I’m mentioning this, was on fire, though mercifully not the part we were going to.
The line actually moved fairly quickly when we were outside. We were back inside in less than a half hour. Then getting to security, just going through the meat of the airport, the part that usually takes 3-6 minutes, the part you don’t even think about, where you’re usually drinking coffee and FaceTimeing too loud with your bestie, took maybe 35 minutes. No coffee here. No bestie catch up. Just dead stares. The really long part of the line was once we got close to the security machines. There was an Olympic pool sized section of six or eight loops down and back down and back before you could actually get into the security section. That probably took forty five minutes. It was a lot, seeing the same people over and over again pass you going one way and then going the other way. I got a bit warm. A British woman with frightened eyes in front of us kept having to fuss with her suitcase and this would hold up the line up for a little while although of course it didn’t really matter.
All of the rules of airport security were thrown out the window. You didn’t have to take your computer out of the bag. You didn’t have to take your liquid stuff in the plastic bag out of your suitcase. You didn’t have to take off shoes unless they were “high.”
Guess all that stuff is bullshit!
The water bottle rule was confusing. A sign said: “You can keep your water bottle.” Did this mean the bottle itself or the water too? What if it was battery acid in your bottle or gasoline? A huge garbage can overflowed with water bottles, it was approaching art status. A high-ranking member of the Schiphol staff had been appointed to stand near the water bottle installation and scoff at people/us: “You didn’t have to throw that out, you know!” He was so mad at everyone for being so stupid. We were glad someone was having fun.
The craziest thing about it was that it actually ended. Our stuff went through the machine. I was patted down by a woman who said to me, “Now turn around so I can finish what I’ve started.” I don’t know whether I should have been freaked out but that’s an exact quote.
Our plane took off on time. “That wasn’t that bad, really,” I said. I was met with a skeptical look. I read an article in the KLM magazine about a beautiful young Dutch designer who designs virtual clothes. She sold a virtual dress for 10k. I wanted to laugh and also to die. Please read this, I implored, it’s about a woman who designs virtual clothes. No, my companion said. I can’t do it. I won’t.