I didn't want to travel given everything that's going on in
the world, but for reasons that aren't worth explaining, I was
talked into this trip. The goal was to play softball in Disney's
Wide World of Sports complex, and to do touristy things when
we had time.
The problems really began in the airport. I was
curious to see what kind of security we'd face, and was apprehensive
in general about the trip. Our original flight had been cancelled
more than a week ago, and I was disappointed when the team rescheduled.
My husband Johnny and I now had an early Thursday flight.
By Thursday morning I was still reluctant, and
even as we approached the ticket counter, I was kicking myself
for agreeing to go along. I used to love flying but that has
changed, and I was fairly sure Johnny would have to drag me
onto the plane.
After scowling at his computer screen for several
minutes, the airline employee at the counter told us he couldn't
find our names anywhere on the flight. I was thrilled. Let's
go home, I said. Johnny and the employee both ignored me. He
found two seats somewhere in that damn computer, checked our
large bags, and we were on our way.
We headed for the carry-on bag X-ray area, me
dragging my feet, wishing I could still find a way to get out
of this. I waited my turn, placed my small bag on the conveyer
belt and walked through the metal detector without incident.
As we waited patiently for my bag to reappear, the conveyer
belt stopped. "There are SCISSORS in this bag!" someone announced
loudly. Everyone turned. Additional security personnel rushed
to see the screen. What kind of an idiot would pack scissors
I was sincerely surprised when they said it was
I was escorted out of the area and asked to remove
the scissors from the bag. I was confused because I knew I didn't
pack them, and to make matters worse, I couldn't find them.
I sat on the floor and took everything out. No scissors. They
X-rayed the bag again, to the obvious delight of everyone else
waiting in line. There they were, on the screen, plain as day,
scissors. Security personnel escorted me back out of the area,
and asked me to open the bag again. I did. No scissors. We repeated
this pattern two or three more times. I was frantic by then.
Where the %@%#@! could those scissors be, I thought to myself,
meanwhile trying to keep a sweet smile on my face. Afraid I
was about to be arrested for scissors smuggling, I kept digging.
Finally an extremely patient and helpful employee
found a small, zippered compartment in the lid of my luggage,
one that I didn't even remember existed. As she reached her
hand inside the compartment, I found myself panicking silently.
I don't remember that compartment! What else could be in there?
Drugs? Do I have drugs in there? Wait. I don't do drugs. There
can't be drugs in there. Oh, I hope there aren't drugs in there...
And then she pulled out ... a sewing kit.
Complete with scissors.
To what I think was the sound of nearby applause,
I heaved the scissors into the nearest trash bin. (I had packed
the sewing kit more than a year ago in one of my more organized
moments, and then forgot about it.) The airline even offered
to hold the scissors for me until my return trip, but since
sewing has never been a priority for me, I declined the offer.
I just wanted out.
I was so unraveled by the experience I could barely
walk to the gate. Johnny was laughing and shaking his head,
but I couldn't quite see the humor. My head was pounding and
my chest was tight, and I hadn't even GOTTEN ON THE PLANE YET!
"I can't believe you packed scissors," he said
again and again.
"Just keep walking," I instructed.
As I staggered down the hallway toward our gate,
an elderly security guard approached us, waving some sort of
wand-like thing, which I hoped was a metal detector. We had
been randomly (I assume randomly) selected for another security
check. I stood numbly as this gentleman asked Johnny to stand
straight, with his arms out to his sides, like an airplane.
In the middle of this very crowded, very public
area, the search for metal began. Front and back, head to toe,
without touching him, the security guard ran the wand around
the Johnny's silhouette. Only his sneakers set off the beeping
alarm. But that was no big deal apparently. He wasn't asked
to remove his size 14 shoes, despite the fact that a box cutter,
or a bazooka, could fit inside. It must be the metal rings that
the shoelaces go through, said the security guard (which these
sneakers didn't have, but who are we to point out the obvious).
Nothing to worry about here, the guard decided.
I noticed that other travelers were walking by,
using the phones, buying books, and glancing our way. We couldn't
have been more center stage.
Then it was my turn. Arms outstretched, I endured
the procedure calmly, assuming nothing could be as bad as what
I'd just gone through back in X-ray. We proceeded without incident,
that is, until my bra set off the metal detector. The hooks
in the back, specifically. I didn't panic through, but mumbled
something about the bra strap. I assumed the guard would be
as disinterested in this as he was the shoes. But that wasn't
the case. He stepped back and looked at Johnny, motioning to
him in some way I couldn't quite see. Before I knew it, Johnny
stepped forward and lifted the back of my shirt to reveal my
What just happened here? I thought to myself.
Did we just lift my shirt in the airport?
Yet I remained standing quietly, like an obedient
sheep trying to fly, my arms still outstretched as instructed.
I was grateful I hadn't put on an underwire bra that morning.
At least it was only the back of the bra that was causing trouble.
I tried not to look at the faces of all the people around us,
but Johnny told me later that many were watching and smiling.
(Mostly the men I'm guessing.)
After a brief glimpse of my back, the security
guy decided I wasn't concealing a weapon. My shirt was lowered
and we were allowed to pass.
I walked toward the gate trying to digest the
incident. "What just happened, and why were you so cooperative?"
I asked Johnny. He laughed again. (At least someone was having
a good time.) "Well you do fit the profile," he kept
By the time I was sitting on the plane, it was
beginning to sink in that I had just flashed half the airport.
I spent most of the flight leaning against the window, eyes
closed, rubbing my temples. If there had been a terrorist on
board, I don't think I would have even noticed.
As for the rest of the weekend, we won a few games,
lost a few games, and then went to Sea World. And given everything
else going on in the world, I didn't feel justified in complaining
about the bra business. In fact, later I was more disturbed
that the guard hadn't bothered to look in Johnny's sneakers.