Monday, July 30, 2007

I had a travel experience yesterday

as I was coming back from a lovely weekend in Texas. I had been out pretty late the night before, and had partied pretty vigorously, so I was feeling a little iffy. Also, I had forgotten to bring enough socks, and so my feet were a little more fragrant than is their wont.

I slide my credit card in an auto-check-in machine, but I don't have my confirmation code, so it's a no-go. But not to worry, Maribel can help me. She will find my reservation on the computer. Except not. It's not there. I'm sorry, but there's just nothing I can do. But another lady, from the international check-in counter (apparently this is where the real experts work) runs my credit card again and tells me that my reservation is made for August 29th instead of July 29th. Great. Smooth move by me. Those reservation-makers must like to do this though, because I know I'm not the first person to make this mistake.

In any case, I have no choice but to fork over a hundred dollars to change my ticket. New problem: my phone is out of batteries, my charger is in Chicago, and I need to find a way to call home and let someone know-- uh, sorry, I am actually going to get back two hours later.

So, very distracted, I make my way into security, hand my expired driver's license and my boarding pass to the first woman, who passes it to a young man (a little on the chubby side), who clucks in a motherly tone "get that taken care of." Yeah, thanks, dork. No kidding.

And then it's through the metal detector, hand my license to the next TSA fellow, who is black and muscular. Please step over here and stand behind these ropes, sir. He frisks me, announces that my possesions will need to be searched, and hands my computer and sandals to another, older man, and together they start swabbing away at the various surfaces of my stuff. The old guy is definitely getting a whiff of footage working on my shoes, and the big black guy is just working away, swabbing the outside then the inside of my bag, and then turning to put the swabs in a little machine that presses them down, and says caution- hot. Looks like a pretty neat contraption, and I ask him, "what substances does this thing test for? I was just wondering."

He looks up at me, squints his eyes in grave suspicion, and takes a tighter grip on my bag.

"Rezidoo," he says. Residue. Well, there you have it.

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