Friday, May 05, 2006

Adventures at the Airport

I returned from my sister's California wedding this past week. It was a lot of fun and everything went really well considering it was planned from 500 miles away. Bethany was the flower girl and while she didn't exactly walk down the aisle on her own, she was adorable. Actually, she pretty much ran the other direction. But like I said, adorable.

On Sunday the bride and groom took off for the Mexican Riviera while the rest of us headed back for Phoenix. That was a bit of an adventure of its own. First of all I was flying with two children under 2 years old without my husband. I am convinced that this would surely have been my end if my mom and some friends hadn't been there to stand in the gap. It took two of us and a helpful airport employee just to get us through security. Each child must first be removed from the stroller and carried through the metal detector, then the stroller itself must be made to fit through the scanny thing. This poses quite a challenge for a full-size Graco Duo-Glider, which we affectionately refer to as "The Suburban". The whole contraption eventually made it through, albeit in several pieces. It was while I was attempting to reassemble it that the real escapade was taking place.

My dad was the next in line, carrying his small duffle bag and a box of wedding gifts that the groomsmen had given him to take home with us. Everything was going swimmingly until the TSA guy stopped the conveyer belt and frowned. "Who's box is this?" He asked.

"It's mine." My dad replied, stepping through the detector.

"Do you know what's in this box?" TSA guy asked accusingly.

"No, actually I don't", my dad answered. "They’re my daughter's wedding gifts".

"Oh, you don't know what's in here, huh?" TSA guy taunted.

"No, I don't!" my dad insisted.

Really?” He sneered. “You have no idea what’s in this box?”

Turns out that among the wedding gifts was an entire set of steak knives, complete with a butcher knife. It wasn't looking too good for dad. Not only had he inadvertently broken a federal law, but this particular TSA agent suffered from a severe case of "Mall Cop" Syndrome (MCS). In case you aren't familiar with this condition, it generally afflicts those who carry a pretext of authority but in reality have very little at all- those uniformed individuals who dream of carrying a firearm and chasing down evil-doers in squad cars but are trusted with only a maglight and a golf cart. Victims of MCS are known to consistently overreact to rebellion with fervent zealousness, eager to throw some weight around, even if it’s in the form of a beer belly. But I suppose I can empathize with the guy. After hours of watching x-rays of underwear and hairdryers go by, those knives must have been a sight for sore eyes. It was clear from his visibly repressed glee that he was secretly hoping this mild-mannered grandfather with a bum knee was really an international Ginsu-Ninja terrorist. What a notch in his belt that would be. So my parents waited with him for the Sheriff to arrive, along with one of the bridesmaids who was still carrying her flowers to give their story a little more credence. Is was up to the Sheriff to decide what my dad’s intentions truly were and if he should be fined the maximum $500 per violation.

But, as it turns out, my dad was not trying to take over the world or the airplane, and the sheriff determined that he found “no foul intent” with him. My mom was then allowed to check the box along with the other bags and both of them made it onto the plane without further incident. The TSA agent didn’t get to make the catch of his career that day, but at least it gave him a good story to tell his wife that night, and an interesting blog for me.


Rusty said...

Dontchya just love airport security lines? I always try to look innocent, and somehow that works. Or maybe it's because I'm a white American male who speaks perfect English usually accompanied by at least another white American also speaking English that allows me to slip past their attention. Or maybe it's that there is a Muslim family talking about the true meaning jihad standing behind me in line that allows me to graciously escape their notice =)

In any case, I'm blessed to never have had any real troubles.

Let me give a shout out to your dad for putting up with their ... uhhhh ... service =)

Heather said...

I always knew you were really a ninja....Ok. SO that had to be really annoying but it makes for a great story. Let's see what you can smuggle in next time. The best part is that when you go through the metal things they even make you take of your heels now! What in the world would be hiding in those?

Brent Klontz said...

When you got to the part about your dad being a "Ginsu-Ninja terrorist" I started busting up. Glad your back alive!

Lisa said...

Was the guard short as well? I've heard a similar description for short guys as well. A short security guy is double trouble.