Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The efficacy of TSA
On December 26, the day after a terrorist attempted to bring down a KLM/Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, forcing security into the stratosphere, we went to the Mpls/St. Paul International Airport to pick up our granddaughter coming from Tennessee via Atlanta on a Delta flight to visit for a week. To meet an unaccompanied minor you have to go to the ticket counter show your last will and testament, pay a hundred dollars and get a pass to get through security.
We had just arrived at the bins and rollers and were undressing when Denis who was ahead of me turns and shows me his pocket knife. His very favorite ever pocket knife with wood and horn handle, a gift from a precious friend (me) and looks at me with dismay. Now he is a very precise organized person, and a continuous shame to my disheveled unfocused ways. Though he kindly doesn’t mention them very often. I confess I had a rush of secret glee because I’ve been through this three times, having the Agents steal pocket knives from me, one of them being a beloved little Swiss army knife. It was green. That day I begged The Agent to not throw it away cuz I loved the little thing and to keep it himself. I give it to you, I said. But he smiled back and shook his head no. Like I would KILL anything! I’m a grandmother. I have WHITE hair. Another time, I sneakily placed the knife in a trash can before I went through the security line and when I came back from fetching Granddaughter, like a homeless person, I filched through tossed sodas and greasy French fry bags reaching deep and pulled it out of its hiding place. I do blush a little to think of this.
Denis looked at me almost like he was going to cry, and then he just tossed it in the plastic tub along with this hat and shoes like, O, well. What he didn’t know is that I had also, ONCE AGAIN, forgotten to take out my own knife. I didn’t want to tell him because, well, it would seem like just one more time when I’d need to eat another bar of chocolate and drink a double grande soy latte with half vanilla to restore my battered self-image. I planned to just let The Agent have it again. So as our tubs bumped along and disappeared behind the plastic curtains we were each waved through the x-ray arch. I wasn’t even looking back, just watching Denis waiting ahead of me and when he grabbed his tub with a triumphant grin, I tried to look as sour as possible. But when my purse also came tumbling through and I dared to look back at The Agent who had his elbow propped on his chin and was looking fatally bored, I almost screamed YESSS! We sauntered out carrying our shoes and casually redressed, walked a way down the concourse and then we yelled, high-fived and hugged. I know that sounds juvenile. But imagine if they’d caught us? And the day after a major incident? I’d probably still be in custody. And think how I might have felt if I’d lost knife number four? Ah, life is sometimes so good.