Friday, November 27, 2009

Airport Security Diaries

On our way to Cancun, we got to experience the newfangled x-ray machine at our local airport that looks like something Captain Kirk may have used. Forget the good old walk through xray. On by one, we stepped into an intimidating looking cylinder. We each had to space our feet apart and form our hands, strangely, into a diamond shape on top of our heads. Then, a whirring panel circled around until somebody in uniform yelled "clear!"

I didn't get the magic word "clear," but instead was whisked into a separate holding area, apparently for terrorists and moms alike. I stood there on the mat, my naked feet placed into the printed shoe outlines with my arms straight out in surrender. "Just relax ma'am," said the guard. How could I relax when I feared that someone may perform a body cavity search at any second?

At that same time, another guard notified me that I needed to watch him search one of our bags that had come through the x-ray machine. "Ok!" I said, relieved, dropping my arms. "Don't move," barked the first TSA official, "You are not clear!" 2 seconds later, he bulleted, "CLEAR."

I walked over to the bag searching area. The bag in question was Ellie's black carry-on, covered with neon colored peace signs. Did they think a bomb would be planted in a bag covered with peace signs? He began disassembling the contents of Ellie's bag with his rubber-gloved hands. Remember, this is Ellie we are talking about. The one who wore an elf hat the whole 12 hour journey to our destination. The one who loves gadgets of any kind. A strange little soul. Knowing her bag was being searched and picturing herself thrown in jail, Ellie's face soon matched her hat.
He slowly pulled the following items out of her bag:
1 pair of large binoculars.
1 Nintendo DS case with a variety of games
1 pair of neon green vampire teeth
2 large bouncy balls
2 chapter books
1 small etch a sketch

3 rubber rats - 2 black and 1 grey
1 dog wallet
1 duck tape wallet
1 large white and black spotted leopard stuffed animal
and finally, he fished out....
1 pair of metal handcuffs.

Dangling them in front of my face, a smile spread over his.
"THIS," he said, stifling a laugh, "is the problem."

At that point the whole line of officers burst out laughing, as Ellie began panicking.
The tension finally broke and we all tried to reassure Ellie that everything was OK.

She was not going to jail, she was going to go to Cancun and she had probably made everyone's day. As we walked off, the head officer joked with my mom from his platform, "hey lady, are you the one who brought the handcuffs?" "No!" she yelled back, "can you guess who it is? The one in the elf hat!"

Little did mom know that her time was coming. On our way home from Cancun, she was pulled into a separate area and searched with a metal detector not once but TWICE! Can you picture that scene? The officer waving the wand over every part of her body and mom fit to be tied. At least we got a good laugh from it all!

4 Wonderful Responses:

Shannon said...

Oh I am laughing so hard at this! How cute! I am sure you made the TSA's day. I always let the girls pack their carry-on bag for trips and I am always exceedingly perplexed at what they choose to take along - but we haven't been stopped by security yet. I will take this story as a cautionary tale. Still laughing...

Lazy Mom Amanda said...

LOVE IT! That's funny!

ASHLEY said...

i had to stand in that captain kirk whirly twirly machine too....they searched my bags for weaponry...the culprit? a carved, sterling silver make-up brush....i can do some SERIOUS damage to people with my make-up brushes....apparently...they're pretty dangerous....your mother...how cute!! what a cute story....hope you and your sister had a great time....love & blessings!! go eagles!!

Kathleen said...

Oh. My. Goodness!! Poor Ellie!! I bet her little heart was beating so fast during this whole time. I'm glad she didn't get thrown in jail!! What an ordeal!