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.