07 April 2011

Outbound

I don't think I ever told you how my solo-trip began one month ago.

It began with a record-setting time from home to the airport to the front of the check-in line. It was so stinking fast it almost felt weird. Well, it did feel weird. Like I needed more time to make the mental transition or something.

In any case, when I stepped up to the check-in clerk sitting behind a computer (yes, our airport actually has computers now. This is a fairly recent improvement... we're like totally living in the year 1975 here now, aren't we?!) I had a genius idea. I am traveling without children so I am entitled to sit in the exit row and benefit from that extra leg room, right? I know, I know, my legs aren't really extra long or anything, but what the heck, why shouldn't I get to stretch out a wee bit on this red-eye flight?

So, I kindly asked the clerk if there was a seat available in the emergency exit row. He looked up at me, paused for a moment and says "Those seats aren't available for women."

*gag*

*cough*

*spurt*

Wait, what?! My eyes get big. Like, huge. I'm certain the look on my face said all that was going on in my head. I know I said something outloud to accompany the look, but I can't remember what. The computer-using-clerk looked amused at my reaction, not in a smug sort of way, but in a I-knew-this-white-lady-traveling-alone-wasn't-going-to-like-that-answer sort of look.

Then he asked "Aisle or window, ma'am?"

The nerve...

;)

After the ticket was issued I continued on my speedy path toward the completion of the check-in process.

The next step was to fill out my exit form and do another round of testing in my on-going experiment to see how much I can replace real letters on the exit form with meaningless scribbles and get away with it. The on-going outcome to the on-going experiment is that actually the form can be almost entirely illegible and they won't even bat an eye.

Next step is yet another scanner.

This clerk asked to see in my bag. "You have batteries?" She asked. Yup, in my camera. "I need them" she said. I reluctantly hand them to her but plead with my eyes and ask her "What for? I have never had batteries taken before... I need them for my camera. They are no danger." I spoke a little Arabic, hoping that this would make her like me. No, she didn't like me though. Good try, Suz.

Please note that she didn't want my 20 ounces of 7up or 20 ounces of water or my various other sundry gels and liquids OR the batteries inside the camera... apparently those two batteries and all those liquids were harmless but my four backup double A's were of high danger. Oh my.

She explained in limited English that the batteries can be used to make a "bomB" (second B audible.). I remember vaguely motioning at myself and my appearance, implying that I am obviously no kind of bomb maker. (Let's not discuss the reverse-racial-profiling non PC thing that was going on just then with my behavior). For a moment we just looked at each other. Then I carefully, gingerly, oh-so-tenderly reached out and took the batteries back out of her hand while keeping my pleading eyes locked with hers. She said nothing. She didn't make a move. Is this happening? I placed them back in my bag and went through the next passage as fast as I could without making a full-on run for it.

I continued on. My batteries were saved. Halleluiah! Who wants to buy batteries while traveling? SO expensive...

Next up is a wait in the waiting hall which could have been located at the North Pole it was so freezing. At this point I'm so cold and so nervous that scanner clerk lady is gonna come with an entourage to find the white lady who broke the battery rule and embarrass me that I couldn't enjoy my newly remembered feeling of independence and the crisp magazine in my hands that I had been saving just for this special occasion.

But she never came back and I never spotted a battery sniffing dog.

Whew.

Wait, there is more though. This story is not yet over.

After suffering from frost-bite for about thirty minutes there was then a ten minute wait standing on the bus that then drove us 50 meters to the airplane. As I finally reached the top of the stairs and stepped foot on my transportation to the sky, the flight attendant glanced at my boarding pass and then at my stomach.

"You're pregnant?" She asks in an almost non-asking kind of way.

Lord have mercy. Can't a girl catch a break? What girl, embarking on a solo-trip-of-a-lifetime, wants to be reminded that:

A. She's female and therefore apparently inferior and incapable of turning a lever and pushing open a door to allow other passengers to exit the aircraft safely, instructing them to please not inflate life jackets until outside the aircraft cabin.

B. She is an apparent danger to all passengers not because she carried over 40 ounces of liquids and gels aboard the aircraft but because she chose to take four extra AA batteries along to take photographs.

C. That her stomach is indeed a bit pudgy and round for not having a small human being incubated inside.

It was an interesting beginning, to say the least. As I settled in my seat I was so thankful that I was laughing and not crying. I was thankful, too, that I already had a handful of interesting experiences and I was still only a few miles from home.

I love my life.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE that you took the batteries back! And, thank God, you averted any battery-sniffing dogs (crack me up!)! I'm also glad you had such a great trip and were able to laugh about it!

    ReplyDelete

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