Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Episode One!

Offending Hair Barrette

On Wednesday I will be at home in Ireland for two weeks. As per usual, my journey turned into a stranger than fiction drama of assorted delays.

The day was sunny when I left the house at 10AM. The drive to Minneapolis airport went without a hitch. Boarding pass in hand….getting the bag check went like a breeze. Husband left me in the security queue. TSA passport examiner looked at my passport, I smiled and he scowled. He proceeded to scan my passport with his little flashlight thingy and looked at me again. Maybe I should stop smiling was the thought that ran through my mind. Finally he waved me on. Whew!

I began the removal of shoes, cardigan, laptop, etc. and  walked over to the friendly looking white haired TSA man. With a friendly smile he beckoned me to walk through the metal detector. Horror upon horror, red lights began flashing and the whirring of a siren silenced the hum of chatter as all looked in my direction. Nice grandfatherly TSA man said, “Do you have keys or change in your pockets?” “No” I replied. “Maybe it is your watch or earrings. Why don’t you remove them?” I did as requested and walked through the metal detector once more full of confidence, sure this time I would pass through without incident. Not a chance! Red lights flashing, buzzer shrilling through the air and Grandfatherly TSA man beckoned me back again. “Maybe it is your cross and chain” he decided. I went back to the rolling assembly line and put my cross and chain into another one of the little bowls. I walked through the now intimidating metal detector holding my breath. Why…well maybe breathing was setting the damn thing off. Nope it wasn’t the breathing. I really hate that sound!!!!

Grandfatherly TSA man looked at me sympathetically bringing his walkie- talkie up to his mouth and requested a female agent for a search. The female TSA Agent looked me up and down as she donned her white plastic gloves, asking if I had a metal hip or knee… and then if I agreed to a body pat down. Well I thought to myself…do I have a choice! “If you must,” was my reply. Sure what else could I say! She patted me down the front as other passengers passed by craning their necks to get a good look at this suspicious traveller. Finally she moved around to my back. “Oh,” she said, “It must have been your hair barrette that set the detector off. Of course you had a man at the station you came through…he wouldn’t have noticed that!” I wondered why if she had discovered the culprit she continued the pat down. Giving a small nervous little giggle I replied, “I totally forgot about that. I will make sure to remove it at the next airport.” Pat down finished, she wished me a pleasant journey. I walked barefoot over to the multiple bowls containing my belongings and began putting myself back together.

Oh there is more to this journey, much more……