Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pretending to not sleep

I arrived in Amsterdam after the 9 hour red eye from Kilimanjaro feeling like I'd just spent a week at Guantanamo bay; freshly tortured by the marines, the CIA, and France (for some reason).

I had about 5 hours to kill until my flight to Newark. When I arrived, my first task was to figure out where I could print a boarding pass since I didn't have one. What I like about the Amsterdam airport is that when you arrive from an international flight, connecting to another international flight, they don't make you go through passport control. Each gate has its own security area. Sure, they check your passport, but its not passport control where you wait in line for 4 hours with a bunch of riff raff, waiting for some underpaid government worker to be suspicious of your luscious curly hair.

I found the Continental gate area and located an agent. I asked her if she could print me a good old fashioned boarding pass. She agreed. When she handed it to me, she asked me if I knew where the lounge was. I wasn't sure to which lounge she was referring. Could she mean an elite lounge? So many questions went through my fogged yet still glorious head; is she making a mistake? Did I get upgraded to business? Is there simply a lounge for Star Gold members?

"No" I said. She replied with directions to the lounge, and told me it was lounge number 41. So, I marched back to the main section of the airport, giddy with the absolute minimum excitement a human can muster possible. Not because I didn't care, but because I was about 4 ATP molecules away from being technically dead.

It took me something like 45 minutes to find the lounge. It was upstairs, then down the hall, then around the corner... the signs kept telling me to go in opposite directions (there was a lot under construction). I finally found it. I walked into the lobby and stood in line behind three or four people. I over heard the receptionists a the lobby turn people away from the lounge. I started to get nervous. These people were old. They must also be Star Gold members, or in Business class, or something. This lounge must only be for First class members, or people with 6 fingers, or... some requirement that I didn't have. After they turned away ALL the people in front of me, I meekly stepped up to the desk and presented my boarding pass.

"Welcome Mr. Edell, just so you know, we don't announce flight boardings so just keep your eyes on the monitors. Enjoy".

Even though I was completely surprised I was given access to the elite lounge, I didn't act it. I sauntered in like I owned the place. I found an incredibly comfortable seat with a plug. I put my stuff down, went and grabbed a delicious free breakfast and a couple of cups of coffee.

I still have no idea how or why I was invited to this lounge.

After enjoying these things, I kicked back and started to close my eyes. I was just resting, or so I thought.

You see, I have never, ever been able to sleep in airports. I don't think it has anything to do with the seat I am trying to sleep in, or the noise... I think its the fact that it is a far too public place. You see, I have many enemies jealous of my magnificent powers and abilities, so I can't really ever let my guard down in public.... I guess. Because every time I start to nod off, I violently twich myself back awake.

Well, in my old age, I've added a new feature to my natural sleep inhibition system. A loud vocal noise. It sounds kind of like someone saying "huh" and "ahhh" at the same time. It is a nonsensical noise that is very clearly designed and implemented by an unconscious brain.

So, here I am, in this luxury lounge, surrounded by other elites, nodding off every 10 minutes, only to twitch myself awake while uttering a strange sound. But the best was the last time I did it, when I twitched so hard that I knocked over both my bags, my cell phone which was charging, and a cup of coffee... also while uttering my strange primitive noise. I got a lot of looks. I was very embarrassed. I decided that I would stay awake until my flight.

The lounge had a fully stocked bar, free for the enjoyment of its guests. I made myself a coffee and put a dash of rum into it to take the edge of. It worked, I managed to stay awake and avoid embarrassing myself further in the elite lounge. Eventually it was time to board my flight and finally begin the journey home, for which I was so excited.

Stay tuned to hear the third installment of my epic journey home from Africa.


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