Today was interesting. I was scheduled to fly to Amsterdam via Detroit at 12:45pm. I woke myself at 4am in hopes that doing so might enable me to fall asleep on the plane at the equivalent of bedtime in Amsterdam. (That plus Ambien, anyway.) I arrived at Seatac only to discover that my flight to Detroit was delayed. I spent the next 45 minutes frantically trying to convince Northwest/KLM personnel to put me on a direct flight that happens to be leaving at the same time, and get seated on the flight at the last possible moment (and only because some poor family got kicked off the plane for lacking the proper documentation.) Exhaustion plus a heavy dose of Ambien failed to have the desired effect and I slept for two hours at most.
After a very brief respite at the airport in Amsterdam, I boarded a train for Brussels. On the train I found myself seated next to two very nice gentlemen who ordered quite a lot of wine and absolutely refused *not* to share it. So I arrived in Brussels horribly jetlagged and tipsy to boot (please bear this in mind for the remainder of the story.) In addition, I needed to pee like a racehorse. Thus began the following scenario:
1) Run around like a nut desperately searching for what turns out to be the only bathroom in a giant train station. Time: six minutes.
2) Enter bathroom. Discover that the entrance is barred by the same fancy new automated gateways found in the Boston subway system. Price to pee: 50 cents. I have no Euros on hand. Time: one minute staring in disbelief, and another minute toying with the (ultimately abandoned) idea of begging nearby people for change.
3) Run around like a nut desperately searching for what turns out to be the only ATM machine in a giant train station. Time: four minutes.
4) Realize that the ATM machine has paid out bills too large for the change machine in the bathroom. Time: one minute luxuriously wasted on hating myself and/or the universe.
5) Run around like a nut looking for a store or fast food restaurant with a short line that will sell me something cheap and give me change for the bathroom. Time: four minutes.
6) Identify and enter an empty chocolate shop. Ask for a piece of chocolate but discover that the store has a “minimum order amount.” Immediately request the minimum order amount without hesitation. Watch in helpless desperation as the woman behind the counter slowly measures out chocolate with the same care and precision that a gemologist might use to sort out flawless diamonds. Time: six minutes.
7) Take chocolates and spare change and bolt for the bathroom. Become briefly disoriented and run in the wrong direction. Time: probably just a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity.
Final count? Time to successfully enter the bathroom at the train station in Brussels: twenty-five minutes, maybe more. Time to pee? One minute, four seconds. Yeah, I counted.
PS. Still terribly sleep-deprived while writing this. No longer tipsy.