Saturday, January 23, 2010

Enjoy your Tinkerbell snowglobe, TSA

It seems TSA is in disarray since the last attack attempts. I hope they get their act straightened out soon! Our recent trip to Arizona started out strange. The guy at Fast Park stood and watched while we wrestled our suitcases up the steps into the shuttle van. First time that’s ever happened. I hope DH didn’t tip him much. (He says he tipped a buck, a little high methinks.)

We got to the terminal, which I renamed the interminable. The guy in front of us hadn’t used the check-in machine, even though he was in the Bag Drop lane, but the one, sole, lonely desk agent took him anyway. Took forever. The line behind us started to trail down the hallway.

Then, a bright spot. After checking the suitcases, we walked past the first security person and she commented that I had tied the yellow ribbon around the old oak tree. I was wearing a bright yellow scarf, almost neon, so she had a point. I thought it was pretty funny, so I walked a few steps, paused, and said, “Did I just get called an old oak tree?” I know, I’m a smart aleck.

The woman jumped up, stepped to me with open arms and said, “Give me some love.” I said, several times, that I was just kidding. She took it in good spirit and gave DH a hug, too, saying I was HIS old oak tree. She was so cute! A ray of sunshine.

When I went through the beeper/scanner, the man said I was flagged for a search. I beeped because I have a knee implant, which I told him. He nodded (but didn’t register what I said, or the fact that his machine had just beeped me) and waved me to the enclosure.

When I got to the searching place the woman told me to stand up. That was a little puzzling, because they always do my feet first, while I’m sitting down and sticking them out. She didn’t even have her wand in her hand.

“Aren’t you going to wand me?” I asked. “I have a knee replacement.”

A certain amount of flurry followed with people questioning each other (not me). No one had told her I beeped! In the end, I did get wanded like I always do, but only because I called their attention to me.

But, in the middle of my wanding, another TSA person brought over my little blue carry-on case, opened it, and took out the Tinkerbell snowglobe I was bringing to my granddaughter. It dawned on me, at that moment, that the snowglobe was filled with liquid, a big airplane no-no. The two TSA employees looked at each other, one of them picked up the offending toy and stroked it. She gave me a regretful look and, just to be that way, I said, “My granddaughter loves Tinkerbell.” Which is true, but other thoughts were running through my head.

(When I had consulted about the advisability of bringing it for the three-year-old granddaughter, my son had hinted that the one-year-old grandson would probably break it, and we would, at last, find out what’s inside a snowglobe.)

As the TSA person strolled over to a man in an elevated pulpit, overseeing the operation, I reasoned to myself that I had gotten it on sale at Walgreen’s, so it wasn’t expensive; I hadn’t told my granddaughter I was bringing it, so showing up without it wouldn’t disappoint her; little brother was likely to break it anyway, so my son and daughter-in-law would be grateful if I didn’t bring it.

The TSA agent held it up to the overseer and raised her eyebrows. “Snowglobes?”

“No snowglobes,” he barked.

She turned around and walked slowly back to me. “You can go back out of security and see if the airline can give you a box to mail it,” she said. Even though we had plenty of time, I had talked myself into thinking it would be better not to bring it. I told her, no, I didn’t want to go through security again. The thing was pretty, though. She stroked it again. “We’ll just throw it anyway,” she said, trying to talk me into it.

Then she got mad. “It’s so stupid, I don’t know why they’re on the list. We could scan them. It doesn’t make sense.” She was railing against her own rules! I think she was more upset about it than I was.

So I arrived without the snowglobe. In fact I arrived without my checked luggage, for which I had paid twenty dollars handling fee. But that’s another story. And not TSA's fault.