Airport Security and Me

Going through airport security always makes me nervous. I have nothing to hide, but I worry I’ll do something wrong or say something stupid and a guard will hold me back from my flight. Let’s face it, those guys and gals are serious. They have an opportant job and I appreciate what they do. But they intimidate me terribly, so when they tell me to do something, I do it immediately and without question.

A few years ago, I wish I had questioned a bit more.

The morning of the flight, I double checked everything. Bottles of liquids in clear plastic bags. Check. Luggage dimensions and weight. Check. Travel documents and meds in carry-on. Check. No aerosol cans. Check. Nothing shaped like a knife or a gun. Check.

Next I checked my clothing. My sweater had a zipper, but that shouldn’t cause a problem going through security, because the zipper in my jeans never had. My shoes were easy to slip in and out of.  There was no change in my pockets and nothing in my purse that might look like suspicious.

I was going to whiz through security.

Still, as I got closer in line to the scanner, my anxiety increased. I took off my shoes and put them in one of the totes they provided. I set my carry-on and my purse in the tote, too. Then my cell. And my watch. Anything else? No. I was good to go.

When it was my turn, I walked through the threshold and it beeped. The guard asked me to step aside.

My mind scrambled. What did I do wrong? Then I remembered my belt. “I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s my belt buckle.”

“Undo the belt and undo the zipper,” he ordered. He reminded me of a dictator.

So I quickly complied. I undid my belt and began to undo the fly of my jeans.

Suddenly the guard shook his head wildly. “No, not that zipper! The zipper in your sweater. ” And then he began to laugh. He told the neighbouring guard and he, too, began to laugh. Soon all the security guards were laughing. It seemed such a happy place, I laughed along with them. Eventually the gaiety passed and they cleared me of any terrorist activity.

That incident left me with one burning question: Do I come by my stupidity naturally or is it a skill I have honed over the years without even knowing it?

PS. In less than ten hours, I go through airport security again. Wish me luck!