Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Airport Security

Sure, we’ve all been inconvenienced by the increased airport security measures since 9-11. And now thanks to the attempts of a wanna be shoe bomber, we now have to remove our shoes before passing through security. (Why couldn’t it have been a bra bomber?) I considered the inconvenience a part of my patriotic duty - until it began interfering with my sex life.

Denise and I were traveling with four other couples to Europe. This was our first trip out of the country since 9/11. The ticketing agent informed us that we could only have one carry-on item each. We had a total of three. So we frantically emptied the toiletries bag and began stuffing combs, brushes, make-up, toothpaste, etc. into the other two bags

Someone in our group noted, “The line through security is a mile long. If we don’t get in it now we’ll miss the flight!” We already knew that we were cutting it close and couldn’t afford any delays. A friend help Denise sip the bags shut, but I still had two handfuls of stuff. “What about this stuff?” I asked. “Put it in your pockets.” Denise said. “What about the empty bag?” “It’s fifteen years old. Leave it!” Denise replied. I stuffed the stuff into my pockets and ran to catch up with my group in the security line. I was reluctant to leave an unattended bag, empty as it was, at an airport ticketing desk. I was afraid that its discovery might initiate some security protocol that would shut down the whole airport. Of course then we wouldn’t have to worry about missing our flight.

I was the last one in our group to get in the security line. Denise was about ten or fifteen people ahead of me. The security people don’t let you break in line, so for the next hour and fifteen minutes I stood alone in a vast crowd of people awaiting my turn to go through the gauntlet of airport security. When I got to the x-ray conveyor belt, I could see Denise and our friends waiting on the other side of the metal detectors, motioning for me to hurry up - as if I had anything to do with how fast the line was moving.

I placed my shoes, watch, ring, and blazer on the conveyor belt alongside my carry-on bag. I stepped through the metal detector. The buzzer sounded and the red light atop the detector began to flash. “Cell phone needs to go in the tray.” the security guard said. I placed my cell phone in the tray.

“Step back through.” the guard said. I walked back through the metal detector. The buzzer went off again. “Any change in your pockets?” the guard asked. “Oh, yeah,” I said. I placed my change in the bowl that the guard was holding. “Step back through.” he said. I obliged and once again the buzzer sounded. The people in line behind me were looking exasperated. Denise and our friends were still giving me the hurry-up look.

The guard snapped his fingers and another guard approached. “Follow me,” the new guard said. I followed him to a table near my friends. He had me hold my arms straight out as he waved a wand up one side and down the other side of my body. The wand beeped at my waist. “Take off your belt.” he said. I removed my belt. My friends were laughing now. The guard waved his wand all over my body again, and again it beeped. “Empty the contents of your pockets on the table.” he said, motioning for another guard. My pockets were full of stuff from our toiletries bag. I pulled out eyeliner, lipstick, a toothbrush, a roll of Certs, a bottle of Midol, a stick of deodorant, a teasing comb, a pack of chewing gum and some Hall’s cough drops.

One guard examined my ticket and passport while the other examined the contents of my pockets. “That it?” the pocket-contents-examining guard asked. “Yes sir,” I swallowed, knowing that it wasn’t. The guard waved the wand over my body yet again. And yet again it beeped.

I knew what it was. He said something into his radio and three or four more guards hurried to the table where I was standing. The guard’s voice changed from a ‘just doing my job’ tone to a ‘we have a situation’ kind of urgency. “Sir, do you have an artificial hip?” he asked. “No sir.” I said, beginning to sweat. My friends were now looking worried. “Are you SURE your pockets are empty?” he snapped, “Because next we do a strip search.”

I turned my pockets inside out so the guard could see that they were, in fact, empty. In doing so, I tried to conceal the foil-wrapped condom in my left hand. “What’s that?” the guard asked. I showed him what I was holding. He waved the wand across the foil package. It beeped. He took the beep generating square from my hand and held it up for the other guards to see. “Looks like the bro’s planing on joining the Mile-High Club,” he laughed. The other guards laughed. Other passengers laughed. My friends laughed. Denise didn’t laugh. Europe didn’t prove to be as romantic as I had hoped.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes. That sounds hilarious and disastrous at the same time! Did you make your flight?