Monday, October 26, 2009

Airports Observed

Paranoia was the theme during my visit to my mother, and it still echoed on the way home.

The name on my ticket was misspelled so I knew I had a good chance of running into trouble at the Philadelphia Airport on my way back. This port is known for its nasty employees; in fact they sent a Team Disney to the Philly airport to jollify them all- I read about that in the paper last year. Some of the employees did have big smiles this time, and my name was not a problem.

But then...

At the x ray machine I got pulled aside by a Czech looking luggage inspector who seemed really scared. I think he thought he'd found a live one.

When the inspector started looking through my suitcase he was practically shaking. He said, "DON'T TOUCH YOUR SUITCASE WHILE I'M LOOKING THROUGH IT!"

My nephew works at a chocolate factory and is the product manager for those fancy Lindt bars- high end chocolate for low end customers... the skinny bars that are grabbing shelf space in Walmart, Target, and probably your local supermarket. My brother had given me a lovely selection of the bars, plus EEK! a one pound can of cocoa, with the lid taped. The scotch tape give it that improv explosive look.

Slowly the cocoa can was pulled from my suitcase. He turned it on all sides, then put it in the encased rounded deploder, and set it on spin cycle. I don't know. It passes inspection. He puts it back in my luggage and sends it through the x ray machine again. And I'm on my way. It was kind of fun. I felt special.

On the airplane the flight attendant spilled a glass of water on the guy aisle seat in my row, and also on his silk shirt. Way to go girly. She mopped him and it up with paper napkins and he was amazingly gracious. Somewhere back this year I did a little cartoon on spills.

In Phoenix I had a greasy lunch outside a sports bar. The waiter called me "luv". After I left I sat a few gates down from the bar and read my creepy novel about life in Mandalay in the 1880s.
("The Lacquer Lady" by F. Jesse Tennyson.)

In Phoenix some of the airport cops ride bicycles, not Segways. There seemed to be a higher alert going on than the usual orange. Marigold? Blood Orange? I saw a group of obese TSA boys and gals walking in formation back and forth in our wing. Odd. By formation I mean all in a horizontal line holding their soda cups.

Then I noticed the bicycle cops had pulled MY waiter out of the sports bar and were questioning him for about 30 minutes, right until there was some other excitement. When I woke this morning I thought, if I were really paranoid or guilty, I'd think they were asking him what I ate.

Further excitement: an old black man wearing a beret and carrying a cane wandered through an exit door setting off big alarms, and causing a TSA agent to pull a gun on him. wooee! Who needs tv? Just go hang out at an airport!

I also listened to the pilots of the prop plane I flew out on explain to the flight attendant what he was supposed to do on the flight, apparently his first one. This was right before we boarded. At least it wasn't the flight attendant explainng to the pilots wht they were supposed to do!


Namowal said...

Good heavens- that airport experience sounds like a bad reality show!

Anonymous said...

Home, sweet home, after the ugly tensions of airline transportation. I hope you're in one piece, I really do....Katy

RHSteeleOH said...

I'm sure you're not paranoid, it's just that everyone is probably out to get you luv.

Mean Jean said...

All these regulations to save us from terrorists. Who's going to save us from ourselves?

Sally said...

I feel a little less in one piece today! Enjoyed reading these comments. Think I'll write a little more.

prb said...

Great post, Sally. Reminded me of some weird airport scenes I have had. When my ankle was broken and I had to wear that black boot and fly to Atlanta, the security team acted as though they had found the mastermind behind 9-11. As I sat next to the other culprit security had identified--a white haired octogenarian from the Midwest--I felt an eerie calm knowing that I was in the hands of idiots, and could only wait until they didn't find what they were looking for in my boot and carryon.