The Story Goes Like This...
A recent business trip brought us to the bustling airport of Raleigh, North Carolina. As I prepared to go through security, I found myself fretting a bit over the items I had in my purse. The last time I traveled by air, security personnel forced me to throw out my lip-gloss and my lotion; nor was I allowed to carry my water bottle on board. The Sahara Desert would have been a good destination for me that day. At least I would have blended in with the dry, parched landscape.
So there I was, in a long, long line of travelers, each of us disassembling ourselves in preparation for the metal detector. When my turn came time to go through the electronic archway, I stood there in my stocking feet, completely embarrassed that my knee highs didn’t match my skirt and assuring myself that all the stuff in my purse would pass inspection without a problem. Wrong.
An elderly, yet authoritive airport security agent met me at the end of the line, his left hand holding my shiny, red purse while his crooked right index finger beckoned me to follow him. My heart sank as I searched the line behind me for my husband. I felt like a grade school student on her way to the principle’s office; wondering whether or not I would live through the rest of the day.
The man’s character was cold and his words without expression as he questioned me about my red purse. “Is this yours, Ma’am?’
“Well, well, yes it is. But I took out the lotion before I…” He cut me off before I could finish telling him how efficient I was about obeying the laws of airport security.
“What’s in there?” he interrogated me as he pointed a wooden stick at the black, patent leather change purse I got at Marshall’s for $4.99. It was fat with quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies and weighed about two pounds—a beautiful thing, I thought.
“Change?” I answered, a little unsure that it was actually okay to have change in my purse.
He pulled a white cloth from beneath a stainless steal counter, and began to wipe off my purse, inside and out—especially my overweight change purse. “What are you doing?” I asked, my voice incredulous.
“Checking for explosive residue,” he answered bluntly. With a furrowed brow, I wondered if my mismatched, green argyle socks made me look dangerous enough to have explosives in my handbag.
After my purse and I tested negative for explosives, the security man handed me a zip-lock baggie and told me to use it for transporting my change on the airplane. “Makes it easier see what’s inside,” he said.
“Thanks,” I replied. I crumpled up the plastic baggy and stuffed it in the pocket of my jacket—not planning to ever use the thing.
Randy met me at the end of the conveyor belt. Putting my boots back on I asked him, “Wanna get a coffee? I’ve got a bunch of change to spend…”