I am going to Phoenix for the weekend to celebrate the upcoming birth of a friend's child. I am flying. Since 9/11 all the times I have flown have either been for an extended trip or, you know, moving, I have not done the weekend jaunt thing in a long time. I am trying to avoid checking a bag. And I will, it's only two days after all.
When we moved to Kenya we were doing a multi-day ticket, with stops in Chicago and England. So I had packed up toiletries in my carry-on so I didn't have to rifle through one of our fifty pound duffle bags to get my mousse. I had three quart size bags with all that I thought I needed, including smart little things like sun-screen and aloe gel. I had painstakingly squeezed little travel sized bottle full of shampoo and conditioner, and purchased tiny little bottles of eveything else. As we snaked our way through the line I saw a sign that told me I could only have ONE quart sized bag. I panicked. And started trying to consolidate everything into two, Scott would take one and I the other. I had jammed enerything I knew I needed, like toothpaste and deodorant into two bags and had the rest in one bag. The sacrificial bag. I came up to the line sweaty and panicking with my one extra bag of contraband toiletries I threw two ziplocs in one grey tub and hoped for the best. The TSA worker picked up the sacrificial bag,
"Just take it," I said. She paused holding it gingerly at the top with a gloved hand,
"But ma'am," a question or suggestion perched on her lips.
"Just take IT." I said resolutely, I had already decided. She slowly turned around and dropped it into the tubs of other personal goods that they had confiscated from other poor saps like me.
During one of our many flights we went through security in back of a Muslim family. They looked TERRIFIED, as they bustled about putting on shoes and putting things back into luggage and shushing children. I can only imagine how they felt. Here I am, US passport holding, blonde woman, with no criminal record and I break into a cold sweat when someone mentions airport security.
You know those commercials that show travel savvy business men and women sailing through airport security with smooth and confident smiles on their faces. I have travelled a lot, I mean a lot, and I still panic when I throw that little quart size baggy on the conveyor belt. I am always afraid that their just going to take something ot of spite,
"Eh, we didn't like the look of your contact disinfectant, so we threw it away, sorry."
When we flew to Kosovo my travel size contact disinfectant that I bought at Walmart was four ounces. I didn't notice until I was home that it was not TSA certified. I am guessing that Walmart assumes most of it's shoppers are not world travellers. I took it anyway. I was petrified that they were going to take it away. In Denver International Airport the TSA agent took it and did some kind of litmus test on it. I think I didn't breathe the whole thirty seconds she was doing it. I was pretty sure that they didn't sell contact disinfectant in Kosovo, or if they did I couldn't afford it.
My feelings of panic are not without cause. One time they took my lip gloss. During that same search they missed my Leatherman, which has a two inch blade on it. I dicovered this on the flight. I remember being in my seat and bent in half rifling through my bag and then seeing the pocket knife. I slowly sat up, and hissed to Scott,
"I have my Leatherman in my bag." I guess they were too busy throwing away my bottled water to notice a knife.
Speaking of that restriction. Do you know how difficult it is to be a nursing mother on an international flight when they keep taking your water away from you? Let's just say I was thirsty. And angry.
Have mentioned that at two weeks old Emma was patted down? Twice.
Oh, you can always spot Americans in foreign airports, we have our shoes off. In Heathrow there are signs all over the place that say, "Please do not take off your shoes." Many times I have gone through security in other nations and thought, "That was all? No DNA cheek swab? Strip search? I even wore pretty underwear, just in case."
This time I have just purchased travel size products instead of trying to fill up little bottles with my normal size bottle of shampoo. Ten to fifteen dollars in and only six little bottles to show for it I am beginning to get a little annoyed. I have some other bottles from old trips but I am always nervous to take them, because you never know how much is in them. I can only picture myself with sopping wet hair and mid-psst my mousse runs out. Not fun for anyone. I do know the trick of using samples, I seem to only get samples for shampoo and conditioner and strange hair products.
I guess I just feel like once I have mastered a travel system they up and change the rules on me.
Water? Perfectly fine.
Not any more.
Knitting needles? Not a problem.
They took them away from my mother in law.
Lip gloss? What can you do with that? Threaten to make the pilot girly?
YOu can have it only if you put it in a clear plastic baggy.
I get it, I do. There are certain liquids that if you combine them they make explosives. I am guessing that they assume if you are honest enough to actually put stuff in a baggy you're probably not interested in blowing up the plane in which you are presently riding.
Ah well, all that to say, at least I am travelling to a developed part of the world where if they take away my lip gloss, out of spite, I can go buy more.