However, in a sadistic move, the designers of our "suite" had given us a battery of cute buttons that made the bed go up and down and so forth, and controlled the television, also made it apparently impossible to turn of all the lights at the same time to get some sleep.
For instance, if one pushes the button with footprints on it, the bathroom glows with, what they again sadistically describe as, a "restful purple light." Somebody was laughing when they wrote that one. I think it might have been Dogbert.
Park your bike here. No wait! Don't park your bike here! (park your bike on the windowsill?)
Since we're basically intelligent and patient people, (and persistent to the point of stubbornness), I can only imagine the F bombs (or their foreign equivalents) dropped by sleep-deprived travellers faced by this, that, and then the other light coming on and turning off in no pattern discernible. At least, not to us , at any rate.
The saving grace of that room, which made me willing to bury my head beneath a pillow after finally accepting that there would be some lights on no matter what we did, was the Sage Seaweed all-over body wash. I was willing to forgive an awful lot for that, including the reveal-all glass wall and the drains that, perhaps to be in the same league as airline toilets, made noises not unlike the death croaks of extraordinarily large toads. The wash was delectable and I think using it made me more Earth-friendly and reduced my cholesterol.
In the morning we gathered up our things, probably checked out, and went to stage 2 of security. In Amsterdam the passengers of each plane must go through a secondary round of security where you, your children, and your luggage are x-rayed, your ID and boarding pass are checked again and you are questioned by one or two security officers before you can enter the waiting area before you board the plane.
During the question and answer portion of this process there is an unavoidable furtive feeling of guilt that swamps even the most unimaginative would-be passenger. Personally, my mind goes blank and I turn red. I would love to know how they sort the stuttering innocents whose brains shut down at the simplest inquiry from those rare nasties who would actually wish harm to a flight.
The only thing I had to make me feel anxious were two small souvenirs and I'd put those WWII bullet casings from Normandy into my checked luggage, and made sure they weren't hidden and would be easily accessed should security want to inspect or seize them. After all, my scrapbooking stuff had looked suspicious enough to the international security folks in the States to open everything and give it a thorough once-over.
Those nice boys left me a polite note in apology for that in my suitcase, by the way. Can you believe it? Essentially: sorry for doing our job and keeping you safe. Wow.
Anyway, I wasn't terribly worried about them. I simply have an undeservedly guilty conscience. At least I think I don't deserve it...wait, maybe I do...augh!
After everyone is through security at Schiphol airport there's some more waiting. Eventually the plane is opened and, by section, there is a rush by the passengers to get to their seats.
This I have never figured out, unless it's all about the luggage placement. You're going to sit on the plane for hours, and hours, and hours in a seat that slyly asserts, "you should have sprung for business class, you cheap bastard." ("cheap" being relative, of course.) Your posterior goes numb and your sinuses shrivel up from that desiccating recycled airplane air. Who wants to hurry to that? If accepting all this as your lot in life doesn't make you feel like a bit of a chump, imagine how I felt when I asked the flight attendant which of the proffered meals she would choose, the beef or the chicken. She looked down in my general direction and said, without a hint of apology, "I never eat airline food."
How, exactly, does one respond to a pronouncement like that?
Perhaps it was that I unwrapped and ate the dinner anyway, or that my butt had indeed fallen asleep, despite that I got up and shuffled to the bathroom a good 5 times to Mike's once, and he only went because he was bored, (he's irritating that way), but I was ready to be done with the whole airplane business. The movies were still the same. Trains are infinitely preferable, if not practical on a transatlantic route. Here is what I wrote in my ever-present notebook:
I hate Greenland. It's just like when '3:30 AM' is relentlessly glowing on the nightstand clock when you what you desperately need to be doing is sleeping. Is it morning? Time to get up? No...still over Greenland...Greenland...and, wait for it, more Greenland.
Stupid blanking bleeping Greenland.
I've deluded myself into almost believing that we're on a road instead of in the sky, so when we dip and bump from turbulence it's merely that the roads in Greenland are not the best. No worrying about falling from the sky for me. What does it mean that not only won't the stewardess eat the meals but that has no problem telling ME that she won't?! There are several possibilities here and none of them make me feel very good in my tummy.
A long flight home is a good thing in some ways. After all, it gives me time to disconnect, control alt and delete the luxury of swear words and to reboot to clean mouth Mommy. Hopefully. It's a relief, too, that Mike and I won't have to work any more to make our mouths to French things, which sounds unpardonably dirty but by which I mean that we said "pahr-dohn" so often it was laughable and that my French accent attempts were painful to even my ears.
I can't wait to see the kids. I can't believe our time overseas is really, truly over. It's official: we are tired of travelling, and just want to be home.
Home, home, what a beautiful word.Bethy and Thomas, 3 days later, at a roadside farm produce stand in the Evergreen State.