07:30am – The alarm starts to ring. I have already spent an hour or so softly swearing at the rather chirpy birds who saw fit to romance one another right outside my bedroom window so the alarm clock is rather useless. I switch it off and reluctantly swing myself out of bed.
07:55am – I am a little more human now that I’ve had my breakfast. My partner is getting ready to go to work. I hop into the shower.
08:30am – The coffee machine bubbles with caffeine goodness and I reach for my second coffee of the day. I walk to my desk, making sure that the cat does not trip me up but she is cosily wrapped up in a coat which we will have to brush down later today.
08:31am – As my laptop boots itself up, I smile as I reflect on how comfortable it is to be able to work from home from time to time.
08:35am – I am about to go through my e-mails, having glanced at the news headlines quickly.
08:45am – The boss pops up on Skype to say good morning. He can be rather chatty at times so I ignore him while I finish replying to the current e-mail.
08:46am – I start chatting with the boss.
08:47am – The boss tells me that there is a new engagement in the US for me.
08:48am – The boss helpfully tells me that I’m booked on the 12:00 flight to Washington … that’s today’s flight.
08:49am – I stop screaming and start to pack.
08:59am – I rummage in the dirty linen basket for items that I will be able to send to hotel cleaning upon my arrival.
09:12am – I decide to make sure that I go through a check list as I’m sure I’ve forgotten things.
09:13am – I start repacking when I realise what I’ve forgotten.
09:23am – I print out copies of boarding passes and hotel reservations.
09:38am – I call for a taxi. I am not sure if it is worth taking a cab to the airport or if it would be faster to head to the train station and connect to the airport there. I will ask the driver when he picks me up.
09:45am – Despite informing me that someone will be there immediately, there is no sign of a taxi in front of our apartment. I call the taxi service again.
09:59am – Two taxis pull up in front of me. I step into the one that stopped first and let them argue about who should take me.
10:01am – The taxi driver confirms that the train will be the faster option. He asks me what time my flight leaves and tuts his disapproval at my late departure. I resolve to not give him a tip.
10:17am – We pull up in front of Gare Du Midi. Unusually, there are traffic police here who move him on since he did not stop in a proper taxi bay. While he argues with them, I wrestle my luggage out of the back and walk in.
10:30am – An announcement mumbles something about a delay for the train to the airport.
10:35am – I am on the train.
10:46am – I patiently wait for the train conductor to issue the supplement ticket for the “Diablo” project the train company is working from. She complains that people should not have to pay for something that is not there yet but insists I pay anyway.
10:51am – The train wheezes to a stop underneath the airport.
10:52am – There is a queue in front of the escalators as there are more conductors double checking that everyone has a ticket. Evidently, they do not trust their colleague.
10:55am – There is a queue to use the lift. The family in front of me seem incapable of operating a trolley so I nip in ahead of them and pretend to help them.
10:57am – I am in the queue to have my bag checked. Since this is a flight to the USA, there is a special security check just before you check-in.
11:15am – The security check is manned by a burly Dutch woman who looks like she wrestles grizzly bears for fun. She asks me where I’m going, why I’m going there and who I work for.
11:16am – She then asks me why I booked my ticket at the last-minute. I shrug and blame the office.
11:17am – She asks me for proof of identity and I point at my passport. Which she is holding.
11:18am – After inspecting my passport, she asks me for another proof of identity. I show her my driving licence which seems to be just as unconvincing for her. She taps something into her laptop.
11:19am – She asks me to prove that I work for who I say I work for. I ask her what she would accept as proof. She says a business card would be fine. I bite my tongue as I was about to say that anyone can print out business cards but rummage through my bag to find a card for her.
11:20am – She wishes me a nice day and lets me check in.
11:21am – I get a stern glance from the check-in counter. Of course the counter itself ignores me – it is the woman behind it who provides the stern glance. She points at her watch and slowly explains that boarding is about to start. I nod and blame the office again.
11:25am – My passport gets frowned at by the Belgian border control police.
11:27am – Faced with a packed set of security lanes, I ask the young security officer if I can skip ahead. “I’m going to get married tonight,” I add with a look of hope on my face. He smiles and waves me through. I hurriedly plonk my bag on to the conveyor belt and walk through the gate, thankful that all my metallic objects are in the bag.
11:28am – I sprint, gazelle-like, because, as luck would have it, my gate is at the very end of the terminal.
11:29am – I am greeted by another security check and go through the same pointless questions I answered not 10 minutes earlier. I hand this chap a business card but he is not interested.
11:34am – I am by the gate and the bar code on my boarding pass refuses to flash in green. A few hurried taps of a keyboard later and I’m told that my pass needed to be reprinted after I changed my seat. I get a new one and this flashes in green.
11:44am – I step on to the plane and watch as the door gets shut behind me.
12:00am – I feel the plane jolt into action and reach for my book as I settle into my seat. Beside me, a fifty-year old gent who smells like he’s allergic to soap proceeds to remove his shoes and socks. This is going to be a long flight …
Is your day one endless series of adventures after another? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!
Related Unexpected Traveller Posts:
- Honesty Is The Best Policy
- Animal Intelligence
- Jumping to (Belgian) Conclusions
- Foreign(ers are) Nuts
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~ by unexpectedtraveller on April 21, 2011.