Before I hear from all the hysterics in the world who write to tell me I don't respect or understand our need for national security, let me save you the trouble. Yes. I do.
But as I passed through security the other day at Dallas Fort Worth airport, I wondered if we had all gone just slightly insane. I had heard about the "carry your potentially dangerous creams,lotions and gels in a plastic bag or else" edict from the FAA. I even told a traveling companion about it in case she hadn't read the news.
I thought I'd be safe (and logical), by zipping up my grooming accessories in a plastic bag designed for travelling, the kind that comes with your luggage and is easy to use.
I was wrong. No sooner did the security officials begin barking out the "show us what you're carrying" orders, than I was under scrutiny by one of the officers at the checkpoint. He picked up bag and my stuff and said, "This isn't in a plastic bag." Me, being a perfect combination of bold and dumb, touched the bag as if to reassure myself that I did recognize the product commonly called plastic and said, "I thought it was plastic." At which point, he jabbed at a zip lock bag on the counter and snarled, "THIS is a plastic bag." He pawed through my things and removed a tiny tube of toothpaste, a teeny bottle of perfume - really teeny - and a 4 oz tube of brilliant brunette styling gel which I had just purchased not so much as a week earlier and was still quite full of the stuff I love to use on my hair. I was furious but what do you do? Nothing.
I wanted to say this (but didn't for fear of being locked up and missing my opportunity to get some frozen yogurt just down the hall by our gate): "I'm so sorry you have a small penis and need to assert yourself in this pathetic way. But - we all have our burdens."
Seriously, I thought it would be pretty funny if I had boarded the plane, gel intact, and at some point accosted the steward...err, flight attendant and held the tube to her head: "I have hair gel and I'm not afraid to use it. I want another bag of pretzels - now - or believe me, your hair will not know what hit it. And if that's not enough, I'm going to start dabbing this perfume on every pulse point on your body." Maybe I would have gotten a round of applause.
I'm positive that in about ten days, the FAA will refine their restrictions and rule that any plastic bag with contents that are clearly visible is acceptable. And where does that leave me? Replacing my confiscated stuff and packing lunches for my kids for the next seven years.
I kind of love the fact that the plastic bag security system has been a great equalizer among travelers. The first class flyers have to carry and reveal their bathroom accessories in zip lock bags, exactly like the rest of us (and the homeless). How soon will it be before Lands End or Magellan or some such higher end company designs and begins selling "name" zip lock bags for their customers? It can't be too long. I want to watch who carries them and laugh.
Talk soon -