In which I am obviously not smart enough to travel.

I flew up to Virginia this weekend to visit my boyfriend (I have a boyfriend now. Boyfriends are cool.)(More on that whole thing later because I’m still uncertain how to write about it. Plus, you know, I’m currently busy writing about how dumb I am. For your amusement! I’m such a giver.). This particular visit was, unfortunately, going to be very short and we hadn’t seen each other in two and a half months. So. Um. Just file this bit under: honeymoon-relationship-type-period and I’mma whistle uncomfortably over here for a bit and we’ll meet again down in the next paragraph, byyyyyeeeeee.

By Friday morning I had packed everything I was going to pack and done all my pre-trip fretting and had done my makeup AND hair to a degree that was satisfactory to me AND dressed like an adult lady who wants to look nice for her boyfriend and I was ready to leave for the airport. This was the first time that I was driving myself there and I navigated with aplomb and had my mobile boarding pass all ready on my phone and only hit myself hard on the heel with my suitcase twice while I was wearing my stilettos and look at me! I am awesome at adulting! Bow down before my awesomeness and tallness in these ridiculous shoes!

I went through security, putting my liquids in a bin, my purse/phone/sweater/shoes in another, and my wee suitcase on the conveyor. Lalala, I am awesome at being prepared to go through security quickly. I passed through the full body scanners and the security agent on the other side complimented me on my bold red lipstick and I breezily gave her the name of it, feeling not only confident but also like a gorram BOMBSHELL.

It’s hard to tell for certain, but I thought I heard the Universe chuckle then.

I walked over to the end of the conveyor to collect my things, grabbed my personal effects, and noticed that one of the security agents had grabbed my suitcase. Ok. So. Random extra screening for me. No big deal. Good thing that I gave myself plenty of time to get to my flight.

The very nice young man who asked me if this particular suitcase was mine guided me to a table and brought up the photo of the insides of my bag. And um, there’s my, uh, device that was originally used as a treatment for “female hysteria” and um, it seems to be highlighted as something that needs to be checked out and oh my gawd, I’m just going to be over here under this table dying of embarrassment if you need me.

It should also be noted that by this time there were THREE agents inspecting my bag. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole.

So my, erm, device gets brought out of and looked at VERY CLOSELY and I’m sure that you could have seen my face from SPACE at this point because I am blushing so hard I am VERMILION and it is deemed acceptable to go through and I breathe a small sigh of relief that I am able to carry on my merry way and forget that this ever happened to me and then one of the agents points to a small spot on my bag that was covered by my, erm, device in the x-ray (shut up). And the man who is handling my bag turns to me and gives me a Serious Expression and asks me, “Is there anything in this bag that will cut me?”

Y’all, I am FRANTICALLY trying to think of anything sharp that I may have in there. I finally answer, (after a good ten seconds of hamsterbraining because I am talking to Authority Figures who are perfectly capable of putting me on some List or searching me somewhere in the back and I am not at all prepared to get naked at a doctor’s office for a PHYSICAL, let alone a group of random strangers at an AIRPORT, and omg what if they don’t let me fly to go visit Adam and I don’t get to see him for another two and a half months, I may dieeeee), “well, no. I don’t have any makeup implements in there and they wouldn’t be sharp enough to cut anyone anyway?” And I tilt my head in utter confusion.

And then I realize my mistake. My terrible, terrible mistake. Because the officer rifles through my suitcase and brings it out.

Here is where it may be a good time to tell you that I had a few presents for Adam in my bag. We hadn’t been dating officially when Valentine’s Day had rolled around and had decided, jointly, to celebrate it when we were seeing each other in person because it just felt right to do so. So, over the months that we had been talking and eventually dating I had amassed a small pile of things to give him. In my bag this time around I had three t-shirts that I thought he would enjoy. And a little nothingith of a present. A piddly little thing that I had added to my cart on ThinkGeek to qualify for free shipping once and then completely forgotten about. A gag gift that I thought Adam would get a kick out of.

It was a bottle opener. That looked like a switchblade.

I’m pretty sure here is where I startled and threw my hands up to my mouth and got wild-eyed with compounded mortification and started saying very, very quickly, “I’m so sorry for the trouble, it never, ever would have occurred to me that that would have been flagged, it’s a gag gift bottle opener that cost, like, five bucks on ThinkGeek that I thought my boyfriend might like, nothing on there is sharp AT ALL, I just threw it in my bag, like, three weeks ago when it came in the mail so I wouldn’t forget that I got it for him, I am so sorry that I’m an idiot.”

And the security officer that took it from my bag opened it with some trepidation and the other officers are crowding around to make sure that it is what I said it is (spoiler! It totally was.) and they take it away to a manager of some sort to make sure that I can actually take it on the plane and MORE security comes over to see what the fuss is about and I keep spilling out apologies for the trouble and the fact that it NEVER WOULD HAVE OCCURRED TO ME and some of the officers keep commenting that it’s a really neat present and where did I get that?! and I am so far beyond embarrassed about the situation that “embarrassment” is a line about 14 miles past where I am standing in my ridiculous shoes and is no longer even a speck that I can see on a clear day from way up high.

It is finally deemed that I can, in fact, take my not-at-all-dangerous-unless-you-are-a-beer-cap bottle opener on the plane and it is gingerly placed back into my suitcase.

And then I notice that they have brought over those little chemical swab things that are used  to check for explosives and are gently lifting my things up out of the way so they can get down into the crevices to swab.

Did I mention that my luggage was chock-a-bock full of, erm, silky things for a certain someone to enjoy when I was visiting him? And that they were now spilling out onto the table? Where everyone could see them? Including everyone going through security? And that I was attracting a lot of attention?

I continued to want to die.

Time moved glacially but it was eventually determined that I was no danger to anyone except, possibly, myself because holy shit, I am an idiot. Everything was packed back into my bag and one of the kind officers gave me the tip that if I had anything like that again, that I should put it into a bin so it can be screened separately. I thanked her and collected what little dignity I had left (spoiler! NOT MUCH.) and walked off to find my gate, aflame with shame. Which wasn’t exactly the way that I would have chosen to color my cheeks since I couldn’t find a proper blush that morning but oh well.

Please, everyone, make better choices than I did. UPS your switchblade bottle openers. It’ll save you a lot of hassle.


7 thoughts on “In which I am obviously not smart enough to travel.

  1. KAMMAH. I am DYING. I am at work, at my desk, trying to look like a proper grown-up lady who works hard and doesn’t read blogs at the office or pick stray pieces of chocolate off invoices. And oh my god, I am trying not to have a fit laughing.

    I love you. Never change.

  2. Okay, so I guess you mean they told you to have any bottle-opener-switchblade-y things scanned separately in the future, but at first I thought you meant your DEVICE and that’s quite the mental picture. Walk up to security, casually grab that out of your suitcase and send it through the scanner. Just another day of travel! It can be stressful! Need to unwind later! (wink, wink)

  3. Oh my! HUG! I hope you got some very extra special cuddles from your boyfriend when you got to Virginia ;o)

    I got questioned over a snow globe in my carry on once. They made me toss it, which made me mad. You handled your situation with much more dignity than I would have!

  4. In October of 2001 (yes), Matt was found trying to get through security with a box cutter in his back pocket. I thought he was going to faint when they discovered it and pulled it out. (He didn’t know it was in there. We’d been helping his parents move.) He legitimately thought he was going to be dragged to a back room and interrogated.

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