I brought my laptop with me, but in the interest of consolidating, I left the case at home, and put it in a sleeve inside my carry-on, making sure to pack it near the top since I knew I had to pull it out when I went through security.
I mess it up every time.
I've had problems getting through security ever since I didn't pay attention to their 3-1-1 policy regarding liquids, cremes and gels. It takes a lot of product to make me look like me, and it's really hard to get everything into one quart-sized bag. After a less than pleasant encounter with a TSA agent a few years ago, I've managed to whittle things down to one quart bag.
What is it about the security part that never goes smoothly? I think part of it is putting all my things into those bins. They're a good idea in theory, but I'm always surprised at how many bins it takes to get all my stuff through. Even with only one carry-on, I still had a bin for my laptop, and another for my purse and jacket, and another for my shoes and the five dollars in change that the TSA agent told me to take out of my purse to make things easier. What can I say? I don't like to dig for exact change.
At any rate, I piled things into my multple bins and then (oh, joy!) headed for the full body scan. I always end up in those for some reason. And since I'm always wearing a skirt that comes down past my knees, I also always get the added luxury of a pat down. When I finally got through all the indignities, I went over and pulled my bins toward me and started regathering my things. My laptop went back into the suitcase, my shoes went back on my feet, and my change went ... I scooped up the change and realized I had no place to put it. I looked around for my purse, and was disturbed to realize it had been pulled aside.
"We're going to have to go through this by hand," one agent said.
She pulled it over to a side counter and she and another agent studied the x-ray images they'd taken of the purse.
"Look, right there," one of them murmured, pointing at the screen. "See that? That's a serrated edge."
I was a little confused since I don't usually carry a steak knife in my purse. I moved a little closer, and the TSA agent reared back like I'd tried to invade her personal space.
"Would you step to the other side of the counter, please?" She indicated the space across from her, and as I moved there, she added, "And don't try to grab your bag."
I had no intention of trying to grab anything away from her. I saw the video of the guy being dragged off the United Flight and I was determined that something like that not happen to me. I tried to smile disarmingly. It didn't seem to help.
"Before I get started," the business-like TSA agent said, "Is there anything sharp in your bag?"
Was this a trick question? They'd just claimed to see a steak knife in there. When I told them I didn't think so, they started going through the bag. Slowly. They were extremely thorough. She pulled out pens and laid them in another bin. Then a pouch with bandaids and ibuprofen. Then she pulled out a small purple coin purse. And my stomach knotted.
See, that little purple bag is always in my purse. I'm so used to having it that I never thought to take it out. But I don't carry my change in it. For one thing, I'd need a much bigger bag for my change.
Did I mention before that I'm married to Indiana Jones? And that he and all our boys are Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) instructors? And that, as the only female in the group, I might have picked up a few interesting items that I carry with me?
Then she pulled out two of these. I didn't consider them weapons so much as tools, but I'm pretty sure that "serrated edge" was what gave me away.
I really started to worry when she found my credit card knife. After all, the other items weren't technically weapons. Bt this was definitely a concealed weapon. Right there in my little purple change purse.
Did I mention my concealed carry permit was in the purple bag too? I think that almost sealed the deal right there, and I wondered if my friend would forgive me for not showing up at her luncheon because I was in jail on weapons charges.
With each new find the TSA agent moved more slowly and more thoroughly through my belongings.
She even found and confiscated this. A pocketknife concealed as a key on my keyring. Both agents gave me the evil eye and then sent my other belongings back through the x-ray machine one more time. When I was finally cleared and weapons-free, I headed to my gate, mourning the loss of my gadgets. Obviously if I had remembered what was in the purple bag, I would have left it at home. And they were all really for self-defense as I have no intention of hijacking a plane. Still, the way the TSA agents looked at me made me feel like a criminal.
Do you think it would have helped if I'd told them I was just a pastor's wife on the way to a church ladies luncheon?