Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Do you smell something?

Today was another day in flight for me. I flew up for a week long vacation in the delicious Twin Cities. Of course, the biggest trial and tribulation of traveling anywhere for me is getting through the Raleigh/Durham airport security without some sort of incident.

If you remember last time, I was accused by the security checkpoint officers of having an artificial hip and lying about it. This time I was assaulted, or should I say my senses were assaulted by a fellow passenger just trying to get through.

Traveling today was a group of teenage boys, all dressed up alike in some sort of soccer themed gear. They were kind of scruffy, kind of geeky, with messy hair and oily skin. As they worked their way through the security process, I was tucked into the last security checkpoint station with 4 of the kids.

As a person who has done a fair amount of traveling, I know what to expect, had my computer out of my bag, in a bin, shoes off (wearing shoes easy to get in and out of) and wearing clothes that don't look like I am hiding 4 Kilos of plastic explosives. The guys maybe didn't have as much experience as me, so I had to find my inner zen to be patient while watching then fumble about to try and get organized to put their things through the x ray machine.

I was just a few feet away from being able to place my laptop bin on the conveyor belt as scruffy soccer kid #4 was still getting his stuff on the belt. As I stood and waited patiently, something wafted up to my nose. I looked around to try and identify the offending odor. Was it me? Nope, just smelled perfume on me. Was it a rotten salami sandwich? Nope, no sandwich to be seen. I looked down and Scruffy #4 had taken his shoes off and they sat on the ground. I wondered - could it be his sneakers? Nothing that foul could be that strong - wafting all the way up to my nose (I was taller than usual too, wearing platform wedge sandals). Scruffy #4 bent down, picked up his shoes and put them on the conveyor belt just in front of me. The drifting aroma from his shoes just about knocked me on my ass.

As I waited for his stuff to go through - especially the shoes, my eyes begin to water, and I felt like I could taste what I was smelling. They finally got into the x ray chamber I hoped that the x rays zooming through his shoes were killing any of the micro-organisms that were waging war on my nasal passages.

As I followed him through the metal detector, I breathed through my mouth, hoping that it would all be over soon. Of course, he had some sort of metal device in his back pack that was suspicious (he said it was to remove the cleats on his soccer shoes) which then required a search of his bag. The poor security officer looked mortified that she had to go through the back pack (which had a pair of soccer shoes stuffed in the top) to identify the issue.

I hope she had a haz-mat suit to put on to dig through his bag. I ske-daddled as soon as I could because I didn't want to be around when the main zipper was unzipped.

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