**there are no pictures that could possibly accompany this tale. Sorry in advance.
It’s funny how many stories I have now that involve me getting detained, questioned or strip searched at the airport. And by funny I just mean disturbing and I have no concept of what it’s like to just show up to the airport and just fly. There always has to be some sort of international incident.
Like the time in Stuttgart when I was strip searched while the slinky dog watched me hungrily.
Or the time I was almost arrested for bringing a fancy bullet with me in my bag.
And now here is the story of how I was detained and strip searched in Amsterdam last week. Again.
I was flying home last Thursday to surprise my sister for the weekend to throw her a bridal shower. This was a top-secret mission that I had booked for 2 months and it was the only secret in LIFE that I had successfully kept from her for more than 6 days and so it was VERY important to just get me there and hidden so I could surprise her when she arrived home from work.
But nothing is ever easy.
I had a friend in town Wednesday from France and he wanted to do dinner, which loosely translates into wine drinking and so like the (actually not at all) responsible gal I am, I packed up my bag a few hours early and settled in for a few hours of vino drinking. Which then turned into a ten-hour celebration of nothing but defeating my liver.
We first started on the porch, drinking a few glasses of red, which then led to vodka on the Top of the Stairs in the Stu, then to dinner, then to the Irish bar, then back to my house with friends for a late night after party because WHY WOULD I THINK I NEED TO GO TO BED BEFORE MY FLIGHT? I didn’t. And so around 0430, I was told to grab my bag and it was time to hit the airport. I put down my wine, ran upstairs to change and grabbed my bag. And I was off. I wasn’t tired, I was thoroughly giddy off wine and all was fine until I hit the airport.
I made it through security in Stuttgart and found my gate, which was an Easter egg hunt in itself, considering I was 1. talking to myself about getting my shit together 2. wandering around like a crazy person who is lost 3. I looked insane. I’m never sure why I think it’s ok to dress myself after drinking but I guess I thought wearing dirty jeans, my favorite Austria hoodie and black leather boots and a yellow purse was a brilliant idea. Fucking moron, I know. That and I had been at the bar all night and the thought of a shower apparently escaped me and so all you could smell was red wine and vodka seeping from my ghostly and unlotioned skin. Vision.of.fucking.beauty.
Anyway. I made it onto the plane and woke up in Amsterdam, which just sounds like a damned movie in itself. After making my way near the terminal I was leaving from, I spotted a Starbucks and decided to see if I could sober up over some iced coffee. Being half drunk at the airport is bullshit. What’s also bullshit is that I realized I had to go through passport control AGAIN and that wore me out instantly just looking at the line but then I got over it when I spotted a cushy chair facing the runway nearby. So off I went to lay all awkward-like across two squishy chairs like a nightmare in a public setting. I used my bag as a pillow and fell asleep with my mouth open.
It was around 0820 that I bolted upright and had a panic attack. Now I was about 43% drunk still and convinced that maybe time changed while I was sleeping. I had maybe been asleep all of 20 minutes and it’s not the fucking twilight zone but now I could not get it out of my head that it was probably 0920, not 0820 and my stupid ass was going to miss my flight because I wanted to sleep in the big chair outside of passport control. Moron. And so off I went to get in the passport line, dragging my legs like a five-year old being sent to time-out.
(Jesus CHRIST this is going to be a long story)
As I make it to the front of the line, I straighten myself out and try my best to put on a very focused and sober look, which I’m sure came across as retarded and sketchy, because making eye contact was beyond me and I was just trying to keep my mouth shut so I didn’t horrify anyone with my offensive, in need of rehab, wine breath.
The very official, I check passports for a living, guy scanned my passport and then looked at me. I smiled and hoped I wasn’t cross-eyed. He looked down and then back and me and then down again.
“Have you ever driven a car in the Netherlands, Ms. Smith?”
“No. I haven’t.” I never drive anywhere, most certainly not the Netherlands.
“Are you sure?” Well, no, I’m not fucking sure because currently I’m not even sure what my middle name is or what day it is or how soon I’ll need a liver transplant but I was pretty fucking sure I hadn’t been parading around in a car in the land of drugs, whores and tulips. And now he was getting testy which was making me testy because anger is always my go-to defense mechanism.
“Yes, I’m sure. But you obviously think I’ve been in a car here so is there anything you’d like to fill me in on?” He did not like my attitude which was fine because I didn’t like the stupid hat he was wearing.
“Seems to me you have an unpaid speeding ticket from 2007. Do you know anything about that?” What in the Christ was he talking about oh dear god I vacationed in Amsterdam in 2007 and rented a car in my name WHY IN GOOD FUCKS SAKE AM I SUCH A MORON?
“That is not my speeding ticket. It is my boyfriends. Well now he’s my husband. I do NOT drive in Europe. That is best for everyone. I promise you it is HIS SPEEDING TICKET.” And by the look on his face I was about to get it for a ticket that was NOT EVEN MINE I AM GOING TO FUCKING KILL MY HUSBAND.
“Mmmm hmmm. We’re going to need you to go with them.” Shit, shit, shit. I look behind me and two police officers are standing there waiting for me like fucking magicians because two seconds ago they were not there and now they were there with their arms crossed. Sonofafuckingwhore.
I didn’t even bother asking where. I knew I was going right in the holding cell room. I’d been there before. But, just to be clear I was unhappy, I crossed my arms tight and made a, I AM NOT FUCKING IMPRESSED, face and then did some very clear body language that I did not need them to help me anywhere so keep your grabby ass security hands off me. The bullshit level was overwhelming and somehow cancelling out the drunk girl behavior and so I was now in attack mode but trying to avoid a full-blown arrest so I could make it home on time.
I slumped in the seat and started texting the husband about how unimpressed I was with HIM and then I started blaming him for this, my lack of sobriety AND all things I could think of because why not. He needed to be punished and so I called him and the first thing he did when he answered was start laughing. Hard. Like uncontrollable while I ranted and shrieked and then started shaking with anger and started to almost cry like a nightmare because obviously NO ONE CARED ABOUT MY WELL BEING AND IF I WENT TO JAIL I WOULD DIVORCE SOMEONE. (I am so dramatic when detained, I know.)
He didn’t stop laughing and I think he was now crying with happiness at my situation and so I hung up on him just as security came back and then I realized that within an hour, my phone would die.
I was now slumped in my chair, uninterested in this line of questioning I knew was coming.
“Is there a reason, Ms. Smith, that you lied about the ticket?”
“First of all (hissing, I was hissing) I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT A TICKET BECAUSE YOU ASKED ME ABOUT A CAR. Second of all, you cannot know you have a ticket based on some fucking light flashing that you don’t know existed and at the time I had never been to Europe and did not KNOW ABOUT YOUR SNEAKY CAMERAS. Third, it’s NOT MY TICKET.”
“Mmm hmmm. Well, we’re going to need you to pay for it.” Obviously.
“How much is it?” Please let it be 8 trillion dollars and give me the option to blow someone instead because WHENINAMSTERDAM and I’m thrifty.
“29 euro.” Oh for fucks sake I was in holding cell for this??
“Fine. Where do I sign? Here are all my cards.”
“And we’ll need to search you. Please give us your bag.” FUCKYOUTOHELL. I knew this was coming. Of course it was. Because I forgot about the ticket I was now a liar, a drug mule and an international misfit. AGAIN. I just handed him my bag, which they promptly dumped out in front of me. This is the point that I realized I’m a terrible drunk packer. In my bag were three pair of skivs, two dirty teeshirts, a Red Sox hat, flip-flops and two magazines. Yep. That was it. Awesome. Who else thought it was awesome? The fucking whackjob sitting across the room that was staring at me.
“What is she in here for?” She being the 40-ish crack whore that somehow managed to show up at the airport looking worse than I did.
“Swallowing heroin balloons.” Then I got a look like, she’s one of your kind. This set me off. WHY AM I ALWAYS PUT IN THE ROOM WITH THE DRUG SMUGGLERS? I started to text this to my husband but instead decided to update facebook on my detainment status.
“We’re going to need you to take off your clothes and please give us your phone.” Oh JESUS. I knew it was going to come to this and at this point, I’m a strip search pro. It’s too bad it doesn’t give me as much personal satisfaction as the security pat down at the metal detector BUT STILL. How many times a year do I have to strip to my underwear for these people? And there was no fucking way they were taking my phone. I finished my text without looking up.
“I will take off my clothes even though I am not smuggling DRUGS AGAIN but you are not having my phone.” I should have left the word “again” out but at this point, I figure they have a picture of me taped at every airport and so whatthefuck. I put my phone in my back pocket and stood up to take my shoes off.
He stuck his hand out for the phone. I just stared at him and took my socks off. I was wearing striped socks you wear on xmas, when the rest of the world isn’t looking and your mother thinks you’re the cutest person on earth. Like the fuzzy ones that are only cute when a 6-year-old wears them. Ugh. I shook my head about the phone.
“Give us the phone.” He was pissed.
“You get my embassy on the phone so they can tell me what the hell I’m about to get naked for and then you can have my phone.” It makes me so happy just to find a reason to demand my embassy, even though I don’t actually want the embassy and I don’t think the embassy actually ever does anything for anyone but in my head, demanding an embassy is a fun way to pass the time.
“Yes.” We were obviously having a pissing match now and I was going to win.
He just sighed. “Please just put all your clothes on the table with your bag.” I won.
So, my pants were off and on the table and I was just pulling my hoodie over my head when I looked in my hoodie and saw that I was wearing my purple Hooters tee and no bra. (not the Hooters beater. The tee. Difference.) Then my hair got caught in the hood of my sweatshirt and so I go to pull out my ponytail only to realize it’s not an elastic at all but a cock ring. I was holding my hair up all day with a cock ring? What in the fuck?
That is what I get for trying to do my hair in the dark after a wine night. Shit. So now I have one hand taking off my shirt with my tits hanging out and the other with cock ring wrapped around my wrist and now I was overheating and my legs started to shake and I really had to swallow hard so as not to throw up and then I blacked out. Well, I sat down on the chair quickly WHILE blacking out. With my sweatshirt around my head and nothing on my chest.
What a fucking nightmare.
Ten minutes later, I was fully swabbed and checked for drugs and released to a different holding area, where I was allowed to wear clothes again and where I paid my ticket and then was escorted through customs. Honest to god, it was 0930 and I had just had the longest morning of my life.
I figured if I could just make it to the gate and get on the plane, this nightmare would be over and I would be on my way to Maine. Until I got pulled aside in the boarding line for “random screening” AGAIN. OHMYGODSOMEONEPUTMEOUTOFMYMISERY.
“Ma’am, is there a reason you didn’t check any bags?” Oh god. Really?
“I am going home to visit my sister. She will have everything I need.”
He looked at me all suspicious-like. “Seems odd to me that someone would take so little for a four-day trip.” I don’t care what seems odd to you, Mr. Boarding Gate Bag Checker. I really fucking don’t.
“Alright, look.” I was bullshit again. “I wasn’t even in your country. I didn’t take or leave anything. Look in my bag. You want a reason it’s so light? I don’t fucking like pants. I brought no pants. Are WE DONE HERE?”
“You don’t like pants?” He looked confused.
“No. I actually hate them. I think they’re complete bullshit.” Then I just stared at him.
“Have a nice flight.”
And I did. Outside of the fact that the old woman who sat next to me for 7 hours smelled like Indian food and diapers, I had a nice flight.
And that is the story of how I was detained in Amsterdam last week.