Home Free

I made it!

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I was worried I might be on a no-fly list somewhere.  (That would be a “don’t-let-this-woman-on-an-airplane” list; not a list that prohibits flies from being in my presence.  I’d be delighted to get on an actual no-fly list – then I wouldn’t need fly diapers.)

Anyway, it turns out I’m on neither of those lists.  Last week I successfully completed a trip to Las Vegas to attend a wedding.  I even had fun.

The last time I flew to the States was about eight years ago, and the U.S. Customs guards, while not exactly hostile, were definitely Not Friendly.  Thanks to sponge toffee, I have issues with authority figures at the best of times, so slinking into a foreign country under the disapproving stare of Uncle Sam was a traumatic experience for me.  And I hadn’t even been doing anything remotely suspicious at the time.

This time, with my guilty browser history searing my conscience, I was distinctly anxious.

What if they turned me away and wouldn’t let me get on the plane?  Or worse, what if they didn’t turn me away, and instead dragged me off to an interrogation room, never to be seen or heard from again?

Clearing airport security has been a worrisome experience for me ever since they stepped up the screening requirements.  My waist pouch always contains a number of items that are either overtly weapons (jackknives), or could be construed as such by paranoid security personnel (nail file, screwdrivers, a vial of hand sanitizer, etc.)

So every time I fly, one of the items on my to-do-before-I-leave list is to audit my waist pouch.  Problem is, I have a lot of crap stuffed in there, and I either forget it or overlook it.  Twice, they’ve confiscated corkscrews from me; once it was scissors.  Each time, they write down my name on an ominous-looking list, and then give me the hairy eyeball until I shrivel to the size of a garden gnome and creep away trembling.

This time, as usual, I wrote “Take out weapons” on my to-do list, and then immediately glanced over my shoulder to see if Big Brother was watching.  Honest, I meant “take weapons out of waist pouch”, not “lay out weapons to be packed and smuggled aboard”.

To my surprise, everything went without a hitch in the Calgary airport.  The border guard barely glanced at me; I hadn’t forgotten to remove that stick of dynamite from my waist pouch; and amazingly, I wasn’t even selected for the “random” physical search (for which I’m chosen ninety percent of the time).

Coming home, Vegas airport security took some more nudie pics of me (I should have asked them for copies, come to think of it), but they didn’t tell me to bend over and pick up the soap, for which I was profoundly grateful.  Once I had removed my epidermis and superficial musculature and tucked it all into the little plastic bin to be X-rayed, it was clear sailing all the way.

Customs on the Canadian side lifted an amused eyebrow at my $20 declaration, and that was that.  Home free.

Little did they know I’d cleverly smuggled a prohibited item across the border:  a living creature carrying a communicable disease.

Yeah, I caught a cold while I was there.

But other than that, it was a perfect trip.

24 thoughts on “Home Free

  1. Glad you made it there and back safely, Diane. Did you have a chance to spend some time in Las Vegas, either before or after the wedding? The food is great. Unfortunately, the airport experience gets more grueling all the time.


    • Yes, we had excellent food! For me, that’s the most important part of the trip. (But don’t tell the bride and groom.) 😉 We were only there for three days, but we had time to catch The Jersey Boys musical and take a raft trip down the Colorado River from Hoover Dam, too. Fun, though a little rushed…


  2. Good thoughts, Flights: Years ago I had tools in my pocket. I’m a contractor, I always have tools. Next question?
    But now – it’s nearly always a stress, the last time airlines took me anywhere, a boarding attendant tried to pick a fight, apparently just to get a reaction from the cowboy? She was maybe five seconds from an official report and possibly removed from her profession.


    • Yikes. Seems like everybody’s overstressed with air travel – staff and passengers alike. I wish we could figure out a better system, but I don’t know what it would be. Personally, I’m still hoping to learn how to teleport. 😉


  3. Brilliant, and glad you made it home safe. Travelling home from Canada years ago by car, one of the border guards asked if we had brought back any living creatures or perishable items, etc. My father looked him dead in the eye and with a perfectly straight face said, “Yes, actually. I’m pretty sure we’ve got some of these damn black flies in the car; I tried to get them out, but if you know of anything that will keep them on this side of the border, I’ll take it.” Guard laughed his butt off.


  4. Crap. How do you get picked for the physical search? I never seem to get one. And worse, they all have a look at my nudie pic and THEN decide to forgo the physical exam. I have feelings too, you know.


  5. Hope you get better soon from the cold bug!!
    I’ve never been to the US, but I remember once when my family went to Perth, Australia for holidays…my parents brought along some home made curry and chilli powder which of course got checked at the customs…they had to open the containers after which the custom officers actually tasted the powder..ahahaha…poor men went red in the face 😛 It got passed through okay after that ..hehe


    • Love it! I bet these days they wouldn’t even allow it to come through the border, or if they did, they’d test it with some fancy computer-aided scanner to make sure it wasn’t explosive. Well; more explosive than good curry and chili actually are…


  6. Diane, I caught a cold when I was in the US back in the early nineties… what a coincidence! However, those special cameras hadn’t been invented back then, and I flew back to the UK with toothache. I was allowed in with that as well.


  7. Went with my 85 year old British Grandpa on a day trip from Seattle to Victoria, by boat back in late 70’s. We totally forgot he would need his passport. The Canadian officials were not pleased, & I was worried we wouldn’t get on the boat back home. We were pulled aside for a while, & felt really chagrined! Fortunately they relented, hopefully having realized that Grandpa Ted, a diminutive little chap, was no threat to Canada!
    BTW he survived the trenches from age16 on (he said he was 18) in WW1, then drove fire engines in London in WW2 & lived to be 94!


  8. Well, if you hadn’t landed on a list before now, this post will secure your place on it. 😉

    I’m glad you survived security and are not rotting in a cell somewhere. On the other hand, think of all the writing time you’d get. I also hope you survived all the booby cards littering the streets of Las Vegas. Then again, what do I know? Maybe you posed for some…


    • Moi? No. Sadly, I don’t have sufficient “resources” to be considered good fodder for boobie cards. But what really creeped me out was the guys in the “Girls-Girls-Girls” T-shirts on every corner that kept shoving their porno cards at everybody, including the women. Seriously, I saw one of them actually try to stuff a card in a guy’s pocket. Pants pocket. Needless to say, the guy in question took vigorous exception.

      Vegas. *shudders*


      • It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? When I was there with my youngest son, most of the booby-card pushers backed off, thankfully. But it’s not like he didn’t see them thrusting them at everyone else. And you’re right, the ones giving them to men with women by their sides was pretty sick.


  9. Now would be the perfect time to cross the border since our government is officially shut down due to Congressional temper tantrums. Come on down!


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