Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Recanting a recant

When I posted my last entry, never did I imagine that a few days later my neighbor, who lives three doors down and whom I've known for 38 years, would be one of "those" people, the "happy vacation travelers" holding up the security line.

Nothing personal, Dear Neighbor, but do you NEVER listen to the news? Or to me when I ramble on about my latest adventures in the airports?! (Obviously you don't read my Traveling Laughs. And here I fancy myself so fascinating!)

During a recent phone chat with my husband (I've been hiding in MN for six weeks writing under deadline), our entire conversation crackled with disbelief over the news that our neighbor--the one who hasn't flown since 9-1-1, the one with a carryon bag filled with giant-sized hair products--had called her husband absolutely incensed that the TSA dared take her expensive hair products away from her. She was furious and dumbfounded she had to remove her worn comfy shoes. "All those bare feet on the floor! GROSS!" Incredulous she had to endure wanding plus have the bottom of her feet inspected because she had a hole in the foot pad of said comfy shoes. She couldn't believe they thought she might harbor drugs or explosives in said heel-worn hole. "Come ON!" she barked at me in a follow-up phone conversation. And the air machine that blows our sensible thoughts away, well it FREAKED-HER-OUT!

When they took her stuff away she wondered—and then asked—if they were going to keep it for her so she could pick it up when she returned. Seriously. I'm still shaking my head. Can you even imagine how long that name-it-and-claim it security line would be?

Last week I wrote that I kind of envied the thus-far TSA-untainted and therefore unjaded. I said I wished I could once again become a virgin-to-the-rules traveler myself so I could head to the airport with that Happy Vacation Glow. But after hearing George's rendition of our neighbor's debacle as relayed through the translation of her husband (who didn't know the rules either, but who listened to the fury of his newbie traveling mate), then receiving the full flaming details in my follow-up phone conversation with said offended neighbor, I heretofore recant my wish. Her outrage, disillusionment and complete inability to understand WHY someone would want to take her toothpaste—her TOOTHPASTE, for goodness sake--almost reignited mine. She expressed VENGEANCE toward those who were responsible for 9-1-1. LOOK what they've done to us! she spat. It seemed as though the fallout was just now hitting her.

I waited until she stopped to draw a breath and said, "But it's our TSA that's made the decision to take away our regular size toothpaste."


Now that I've been reminded of that initial response to THE OUTLANDISHNESS of it all, yes, I rescind my wish to once again be ignorant of the reality of today's travel circumstances. That initial fall from traveling WAHOO is just too heartbreaking; I do not ever wish to experience it again. I proudly claim myself a member of The Well Informed & Seasoned Veteran's Traveling Club, a club that is compliant, unchallenging and appropriately numb. Like a wild mustang now broken to accept its rider, I stand in the stable (well, okay I currently hide in Minnesota) waiting for my next trip to the airport when my boss—Da TSA Man—will tell me whether to turn to the right or the left, what he or she can and will take away from me, like the right to say "I object to this treatment!"

Okay, THAT was all so depressing I now recant my recant while I consider this philosophical question: Is it better to have flown often and therefore learned to surrender your power, or to ne'er yet have flown and still ignorantly think you have some? Or is it better to simply work your Sudoku and fo-getaboutit?

Hey youse guys and gals out there, whatdayathink?

In closing, let me just say that I am glad my husband is driving up here today since he shall have total control over an on-time departure and what he arrives here with, which will include all kinds of sharp implements in his fishing tackle box, bottles of nail polish left behind by his beloved, a case of liquid refreshment and anything else he can cram into his big ol' LeSabre.

Unless . . . OH NO! Unless while I've been hiding this past six weeks here in MN and barely hearing any news (like my neighbor apparently hadn't done for the last many years) the TSA has slapped down some new regulations at the Illinois toll booths! And if learn they have, do I call my husband and alert him, thereby causing him to leave all our favorite things behind, therefore enabling Wally Walleye to escape the lure of our fabulous split Rapalas? Or do I just let my beloved be one of "those" people merrily setting out to reunite for a spell with his honey?

CHARLENE! SNAP OUT OF IT! Like THAT toll-screening, tackle-box nabbing scenario would ever happen!

Oh boy. Just like nobody will ever give a ding-dong about our toothpaste either, right?

Oh boy.

1 comment:

Paulie in Texas said...

Much better to be the well informed, "seasoned" traveler. Whenever the family goes with me for vacation I make sure they know the rules in advance and adhere to them. On a recent trip I had a woman with a laptop who had no idea it had to come out of her bag, and "why, but that is ridiculous" was all she could say. Oh yeah, she was still wearing her lace up tennis shoes, belt with large buckle, and, honest to God, trying to carry on a full bottle of wine! Even the TSA people rolled their eyes at that one.