Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On airport security...

It’s a well-known fact, now, that as airline passengers, we are no longer permitted to bring our liquid explosives in our carry-on luggage. Well, I suppose this isn’t entirely true. Now we just need to be economical about it. We’re allowed to bring liquids, as long as their quantities do not exceed 3 ounces and as long as they all fit into a clear, quart-sized Ziploc baggy. I kept this in mind this morning as I assumed my place in the security line at the airport. The militant She-man guarding the x-ray machine barked at us to have our baggies out for inspection. So I complied by putting my face wash along with my entire makeup case into the Ziploc bag. She-man eyed my Ziploc. Dissatisfied with the contents, she unzipped the baggy and probed into my makeup case.

“What’s liquid in here?” she growled. In my sleepy haze, one that She-man only somewhat successfully snapped me out of, I still had the good sense to see that her mustache was due for a bleaching.

Too tired to care about the physical properties of my make-up (as it was 6 AM), I pointed only to the foundation.

"Um, NO!!" she retorted. She then proceeded to inform me, with scientific certainty, that I was mistaken. In fact, my mascara is liquid as well. Touché! She did, indeed, have me on that one. Oh, mascara, how you deceive me with your viscous properties!!

She then proceeded to investigate my face wash, which, admittedly, was in a 4.3 ounce squeeze tube.

"Um, Mam, this is more than 3 ounces. I'm going to have to confiscate this."

"But the tube is clearly more than half empty." Her mustache was starting to bug me now. (Note to self, schedule flights later in the day so as to have the resilience to deal with mustached She-men.)

"Sorry Mam," she was clutching my sacred face wash.

"Mam," I mimicked her tone, snatching the tube from her She-man hands. Then I did a Vana White demonstration for her, "There is quite clearly less than three ounces in this 4.3 ounce container. I'd like to keep my face wash."

We then proceeded to have a back and forth battle of a conversation, the maturity level of which was reminiscent of the tennis match fights my brother and I used to have when I was 6 and he was 4. "Mom, Homeslice hit me!" "No I didn't!" "Yes he did!" "No I didn't!" "Yes he did!" "No I didn't!" "Yes he did!" "No..."

Mom usually resolved those with a smack. One for me. One for Homeslice. This match, over the face wash, was resoved by the He-man head security guy. I wish he would have smacked She-man. No such luck. He did, however, plainly see that there was less than 3 ounces in my 4.3 ounce container. So, I got to bring my face wash with me. I resisted sticking my tongue out at She-man as I glided through security and settled, instead, for a barely audible "Nana nana boo boo!!"

As I boarded the plane to San Antonio, Texas, a last-minute impulse trip my boss orchestrated to send me to the annual Breast Cancer Symposium, I reached into my purse to hunt for my ticket (to confirm my seat number). I realized then that I'd forgotten to include my lip gloss in the plastic baggy for She-man's interrogation.

Lucky for her (and all of my fellow passengers), I decided to use the sparkly, rosey-hued, papaya-flavored liquid for good rather than evil.

No sooner had I snuggled into my "spacious" economy class seat and successfully wrangled my laptop bag under the seat in front of me (not an easy task), I looked up and saw Steve Young. A bit random! Perhaps only slightly more unexpected than that, he was looking straight at me.

He paused for effect. In fact, he stood there in all of his you-know-you-recognize-me-because-I-am-none-other-than-the-great- Steve-Young glory for a moment too long. (In my humble opinion.) When he decided the moment had sufficiently marinated in the stale, stuffy, artificially scented air of the economy class cabin, he asked, "Would you mind trading seats with me and my son?" He pointed to his circa-5-year-old son and continued on, indicating the emergency exit row seats behind me, "He's not old enough to sit in the exit row. If you wouldn't mind, of course. There's more leg room!"

"Oh, of course!" I said as I stood up to achieve my intimidating 5 foot, one-and-three-quarters-inch presence. "I often find that with my stature, I do need that extra leg room."

He smirked the smirk he probably routinely smirks for his autographed promo photos and then proceeded to watch me struggle to unwrangle my bag from under the seat in front of me. (Not any easier coming out than it was going in.)

So, I sat down in the exit row, Steve Young and his son sat in the row in front of me, and Steve's go-to guy sat next to me. The "excitement" of having a "super" star on our plane might have diminished somewhat over the course of the trip if Steve's sidekick next to me didn't have his head so far up Steve's ass the entire flight. He seriously spent the entire duration of the flight perched excessively forward in his as to achieve maximum closeness to Steve, I imagine. My attempts to nap were repeatedly interrupted by continual exclammations of Steve's brilliance and ingenuity. "YES, Steve! SUPER! Oh, Steve, that's a FANTASTIC idea! Gee whiz, STEVE, what would we EVER do without you?? May I wash your feet for you?? Perhaps hand-feed you your cheese nips while I fan you with peacock feathers??? Accompany you to the bathroom and wipe your bum with my nose?"

After about half an hour of this guy's ass-kissing, I started contemplating exactly how I might use my sparkly, rosey-hued, papaya-flavored lip gloss for evil rather than good.

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