You Can’t Take It With You

We flew to Las Vegas last week to visit some close friends, so before going I reviewed TSA’s website, always in a state of flux, to see what is and isn’t permissible for carry-on luggage this month, since every time something happens, or someone thinks something’s going to happen, they add new, often ridiculous, sanctions accordingly. Security Theater – at an airport near you.

How did some of these prohibited items even make the list? Did someone, at some time, try to carry one of these items on board? Seriously?

-Snow globes – I kid you not, snow globes.

-Aerosol paint (surely there’s a store where you’re going that would sell this upon arrival should you really need it (maybe not in Nambia or on some atoll in the Pacific, but, come on)

-Vehicle Airbags (might add an extra layer of protection in case of a crash, but if anyone thinks it would make a difference, well, good luck with that)

 -Liquid bleach (I didn’t know laundry facilities were available aboard aircraft, with the possible exception of Air Force One)

-Turpentine and paint thinner (Right, see aerosol paint, above)

-Chlorine for pools and spas (I understand the concern, but come on, I’m sure that’s available at the point of destination, unless of course you’re on safari, sharing an untreated watering hole with elephants or other forms of wildlife)

-Gasoline (trust me, if the plane runs out of fuel, ordinary gasoline isn’t going to help)

-Fireworks – they’d be great for keeping cranky kids quiet!

-Dynamite – I’m not kidding. But if you keep it to a two-stick maximum, you might get away with it – but why would you want to?

This is just a small part of the list you’ll find online. Hard to fathom, isn’t it. Check it out sometime when you’ve got nothing else to do or if you need a good laugh. If nothing else, it’s entertaining.

Leaving Cleveland, TSA insisted on “wanding” Bill because he’d neglected to remove two packets of Splenda, one penny, and a loose 4” strand of dental floss from his jacket pocket as he went through the scanner. Rushing us the way they did, he missed it – is that a crime? They already knew he was a retired FBI Agent, and it was obvious he was not armed, yet they insisted the procedure was a must-do. As if he were lying. “I didn’t realize that machine could detect Splenda,” he said. Maybe he was trying to joke around with them, but they weren’t laughing. In general, they’re a humorless lot. Thank goodness Bill stopped there because a fit of unrestrained temper would not serve him well in a situation like this.

I recall one trip to London when Bill was pulled aside and taken into a separate area for “greater scrutiny” – I could hear him complaining from where Laura and I were standing after we passed inspection. At that point, we didn’t know if he was going to be “detained” or allowed to join us on the remainder of our trip, but things were not looking good, the English being a decidedly stiff group. We weren’t even sure it was advisable to be identified as “known companions.” When they finally released him, he was incensed but at least allowed to leave the airport without wearing handcuffs he was more accustomed to affixing to wrists other than his own.

So if you’re not packing explosives, combustibles, or ice picks and the like, what do you take when you pack for a trip? We always wind up taking more than we need, so my advice is take less. Less than you think you’ll need because unless you really are going on safari, you can buy what you didn’t bring when you get wherever it is you’re going.

We finally boarded the plane to Las Vegas and took our seats, and I’ll give Frontier good marks for one thing – their relatively comfy seats. Note I didn’t say roomy, but they were an inch or so roomier than most other airlines on which I’ve flown, even in slave class – and that makes a big difference on any flight, especially a long one.

And take off gives you such a rush, doesn’t it? For me, it’s the best part of the flight and almost makes up for all you have to go through to experience those few minutes of heightened awareness and power – ah, the thrill of it all. Now that’s a feeling that you can take with you, wherever you go.


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