A couple of days ago I went to see Vovka off back to Israel. He was flying with ElAl, leaving from Departures 3 at Schiphol International Airport. ElAl check in is easily recognisable: it has a wall around it and men with guns at all the corners. I was not allowed to join Vovka at the check in, but had to wait outside. I walked to the other side of the desk - the place where he would get out - and settled for waiting. One of the two armed guards approached me.
The guard: "Are you waiting for someone?"
Me thinking: "It's none of your business!"
Me saying: "Yes."
The guard: "Who are you waiting for?"
Me thinking: "How's that relevant?"
Me saying: "That tall man in a light jacket."
The guard: "You may not wait here."
Me thinking: "Says who?"
Me making two steps away and saying: "May I wait here?"
The guard: "No. You may wait over there."
Me thinking: "Don't order me around!"
Me saying: "Ah, there! Thank you."
My mind and body were rebelling against this inquiry, against the threatening sight of the armed guards and against the security interview where they ask you questions you don't want to answer. But I knew I wouldn't be able to change the situation by arguing with the guards. Instead, disobeying them could lead to more questions for Vovka. I went to the front wall, which appeared to be more fun, because I could make funny faces to Vovka while he was being interviewed. Vovka couldn't help laughing, the guy who interviewed him would turn around to see what Vovka is laughing at and I would hide behind the wall so he couldn't see me. ;)
I thought of that little country (Israel) where this level of security is a part of everyday life. And that made me (once again) realise how much I appreciate living in the Netherlands where one can bump into the Prime Minister just like that on the street.