Lines from Hell

Dan Goldwasser Israel (2003)

I got to the airport, and it was a scene of chaos. I wish I had taken a picture, but honestly, I couldn’t think to do so, and who knows if Israeli security would have taken me down for “casing the joint”. Imagine about 4,000 people in a small room. It felt like a security risk, honestly. And this was the line at Air Canada. Wow. I got into what I was TOLD was the right line (Line #1). I then slowly made my way to the counter over the next 25 minutes – at which point I was informed that I needed to go through the security check. Excuse me? Which line is that? Oh, that’s the line I had just been in. Seems the security person missed me. Lovely. So I went to the back of the line (Line #2), found someone to complain to, got questioned (“where did you stay? did anyone give you any packages? etc. etc.”), and then was blessedly shuffled to the front of the line where I was able to check in. Whew. I then made my way to the immigration area – you had to “leave the country”, and get your passport stamped. So, I got in line (Line #3), and slowly made my way to the desk where I was released into the airport after passing through the X-ray security. I then spent a couple of hours relaxing, reading, and buying snacks and stuff to bring back to the office (figured they would appreciate “foreign food”). Then they started to get us to the plane. But they don’t have jetways, so you have to take a bus. So we got in line for the bus, at the gate (Line #4). We then got on the bus, and when we got to the plane, had to slowly line up and board the plane (Line #5). Finally, I got my seat on the plane, and settled in for the flight. (1am, Sunday morning)

The flight was largely uneventful, thanks to the wondrous powers of Vicodin. The films on the flight were About Schmidt, X-Men, and Old School. I wanted to see Old School and figured I could wake up by then. I was wrong; when I finally woke up, the film was mostly over, and we were somewhere over New Brunswick. Damn. Eventually we landed in Toronto, and I now had to enter USA customs here in Toronto – meaning I had to get my checked baggage. Hmm. (6:30am Sunday morning)

So I got in line to get off the airplane (Line #6), and worked my way to baggage claim. To get there, though, you had to go through Candian Immigration (Line #7). Ok, made it through; no, I don’t have SARS symptoms, thank you very much. Went to the baggage claim, got my bag (yay!) and then went through customs (Line #8) and then put my bag on a conveyor belt to Terminal 2, where I had to go to US Customs. I had a choice – “Walkway to Terminal 2” or “Shuttle to Terminal 2”. The walkway had a moving sidewalk, so I figured why not? Hmm. This put me at the END of the terminal; I now had to walk all the way through it, to the other end, and then some. But first, I had to go through X-ray security (Line #9). After what was probably a mile of walking, I made it to the place where my bag was supposed to arrive. I waited about 20 minutes, and got my bag – then I had to go through US Custom and Immigration (Line #10). From there, I had to check my bag for the flight to Los Angeles (Line #11) and then I had to (you guessed it) go through X-ray security again (Line #12). Finally, I made it to the gate, and sat down to rest before the flight.

While waiting for the flight, I casually glanced up from the book I’m reading, and saw composer Philip Glass descending the escalator to the floor below. I was too far to shout at him, and it would have been too much energy to get all my stuff to chase after him. Ah well – he was a nice guy when we chatted in March, but I doubt he’d really remember me.

We then got in line to get on the airplane (Line #13), and the flight to Los Angeles was pretty uneventful too. I slept a good portion of the way there, and when we landed at 11:20am, I was actually feeling not-so-jetlagged. I got into line to get off the plane (Line #14), and then got my bags. Adam picked me up at the airport, which was really cool of him, and we went to grab some sushi lunch after dropping my bags off at home. Whew! I made it! What a trip!!