I recently had to take a business trip across country, (Portland by way of San Francisco). I’ve decided to recount my journey for your entertainment. All of what you read is true…except for the many parts that aren’t.
PART ONE: The Beginning
The alarm rings at 5 AM and I crawl out of bed, wondering again why I need to wake up at dawn on a Tuesday for meetings that don’t start for another day. Why can’t the airlines can’t get their act together and get me to Portland without connecting flights and 12 hours of travel time? I mean, this is 20-freakin’-12! Where are the flying cars, the supersonic flights, the teleportation pods? At this point, I’d be willing to risk turning into some sort of monstrous Jim/Fly hybrid if it means I can sleep for two more hours.
I manage to get out the door with minimal amount of whining with my wife and middle-baby in tow, and we head off to Philadelphia International Airport in pre-rush hour traffic. We approach the airport and I’m confronted with my usual dilemma…Do I want the “arriving” lanes because I’m arriving at the airport, or the “departing” lanes, because my plane is departing. I know – stupid – but please don’t ask me to explain how my brain works…it’s a chaotic and scary place sometimes.
This time, I correctly choose departing. I pull up to the gate, kiss the wife and middle-baby goodbye, and it’s off to security. While waiting, I reflect – as I usually do when I fly– on how silly we all look, emptying our pockets, pulling off our shoes and belts, handing over our bags of travel-sized shampoo. I understand the necessity of all this, I really do; and I hate to say “the terrorists won,” but I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the depths of Hell, Osama and his minions are watching us on Flame-O-Vision and laughing their asses off.
I step through the metal detector and, of course, it beeps. I don’t know what it is – perhaps my magnetic personality; or maybe the neurosurgeon left something behind, or implanted a microchip in my spine, but this happens to me about 2/3rds of the time I fly. I back up and step through again, another beep. After weighing the options of making me strip and expose my generous man-boobs to a horrified world, the guard has me step through one more time. Lucky for the world, one of the many rolls circumnavigating my waist shifts enough to cover my bionic vertebrae and the thing remains silent.
Another TSA agent is waiting for me at the end, holding my CPAP machine.
“What’s this?” She asks.
“A CPAP Machine,” I could have answered.
“It keeps me breathing when I sleep,” I could have added.
Instead, I pull the hose and mask from the side pocket, slide it over my head and say in my best Tom Hardy voice:
“I am Bane, breaker of the Bat…Bow before me.”
She seems generally unimpressed.
“Sir, please remove the mask and step away from the machine.”
“But I’m Bane, if I remove the mask I’ll wither and die.”
That’s when two strong hands grip my biceps and a deep voice rumbles above my ear, “Sir, come with us please.”
Who knew TSA agents didn’t have a sense of humor?
Next – PART TWO – San Francisco