Airport Fiasco

“Wait right here while we recheck your bags,” advised airport security to my daughter. We stood there in stocking feet, staring blankly.  Suddenly, she giggled and leaned in close whispering, “I know what it is.”  I pointed out that voluntarily disclosing that information is usually the best policy in these situations. “I know what it is,” she blurted out to the three agents staring at the monitor. “It’s my little pocketknife, I forgot to take it out.” She fluttered her incredibly long eyelashes.

One of the agents pulled out her purse to mine through the contents and find the article in question.  Becky reached in to assist with the excavation. “Remove your hands, please,” stated another agent.  Her purse, and I use the term very loosely, is as big as a king-size pillow. An entire hobbit family could exist in there comfortably for life.  Their foraging yielded a four-inch folded knife blade. The three men stared at her in utter shock and dismay for what seemed like a full minute. Finally, one of them grunted, “That’s real feminine.” She just giggled and declared, “How’s a girl supposed to protect herself these days” as she flashed one of her extraordinary smiles. Her bag was so big; it shouldn’t have surprised them in the least if they had pulled out a crossbow, harpoon gun, and a bazooka.

That smile of hers can melt an iceberg.  Thankfully, we all had a good laugh as we waved and headed off to our gate. I am guessing the story of the girl with the little pocketknife will be told at training sessions and over coffee breaks for years to come.

If that would have been my knife, I’m pretty sure things would have gone a lot differently.

She and I were heading to Orlando, where she would be interning with Disney for the next six months as a chef.  Three hours later, we arrived in Chicago after enjoying what can only be described as bologna between two hearty pieces of bread. Yes, lucky me, I had the middle seat.

Grabbing some delicious airport cuisine, we headed to our connecting gate, which happened to be full of passengers heading to Newark. We chose to wait it out in the adjoining lounge.

Becky decided it would be fun to fill the hour by endeavoring to teach me how to do Sudoku puzzles.  She had purchased a Sudoku for Toddlers book and tried in vain to show me how easy it was to deduce where the numbers go. I don’t know if it was the jetlag (that excuse didn’t work on her either), or the fact that I am incapable of doing anything intelligent with numbers. For the life of me I could not grasp the concept. Period. Clearly, puzzles designed for three year olds are beyond my mental capacity.  In actuality, I had zero interest in learning something that could potentially blow out my entire brain circuitry. “Geez,” she sighed, “I could have finished the entire book by now.” I could feel my brain petrify the longer I made the attempt.

I looked up to find our gate devoid of passengers so I headed over to check in. No one was there and neither was the sign for Orlando. Yikes. A quick check of the monitor revealed a gate change to the other side of the airport. We ran as fast as we could without raising any suspicion, only to discover the airplane had pulled away. The gate agent, clearly perturbed, stated that they had waited for us and we should have been able to determine by the “departure time” that there would be a gate change. No excuse was acceptable to her.  She placed us on the next flight two and half hours later. Yeah, more time to savor O’Hare’s scrumptious, overpriced, culinary delights.

I explained our situation to my unsympathetic husband, a pilot himself. He had the same response as the gate agent. What is altogether apparent to those who work in the industry is as clear as mud to Jane traveler, just so they know.

Luckily, after checking and rechecking the monitor ten times, we made our connection to Orlando. Part of me wanted to try that stupid Sudoku again and show my daughter that mommy wasn’t altogether inept when it came to numbers. The other ninety percent of me said, who cares.

As we descended into Orlando I had to laugh at the events of the day.  I was reminded of a last-minute bag change that morning, when we had to find a place to pack her culinary knife kit. You know, a chef’s knife kit, which contains every kind of blade that filets, slices, hacks, and severs food. I couldn’t help but wonder what airport security would have thought when something that menacing popped up on the x-ray monitor.  Looking back, I can see why she referred to the pocketknife as “little” when she is used to wielding twelve-inch blades all day.

Barbara Lishko works full time as a Lay Catholic Marriage Minister. She and her husband Mark, an ordained Deacon, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with five young adult children, whose lives grow and expand through marriage and grandchildren.

Through the inspiration of her family, work in the Catholic Church and wacky life experiences her dream of writing was born. She is the recipient of the Diocese of Phoenix St Terese of Lisieux award. Barbara can be reached at blishko_58@yahoo.com

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