“How often do you fly, miss?” The friendly TSA agent asked me after his female counterpart and completed her “pat down.” I couldn’t understand what they were all getting so upset about, I was sure that shampoo and conditioner I’d packed were exactly 3 ounces each.
“I’ve only flown three times in my entire life,” I replied. This was the sad truth. My parents weren’t very adventurous and my father was deathly afraid of planes from some experiences he’d had in the army. I’d never even been to an airport before the age of 19.
It was at this moment that I saw one of them had my bubble pink taser gun. I’d totally forgotten it was in my purse and I’d assumed they were upset about the one thousand spilled flax seeds or something else absurd they’d found in my carry on. I was genuinely shocked to see it and I guess that’s why they weren’t harder on me.
“Why would you try to take this on the plane?” one of them asked.
I explained that I had it for work, or rather for lonely walks to the parking garage when I got off work late at night. It was something they had to undertand being that we’d had a shooting and hostage situation just two blocks from the building I work in earlier that month. The entire thing was absurd and I quickly informed the agent that he could just take the taser, assuming that would end the conflict and I could be on my way.
“Oh I’m definitely going to take it, but we have to write this up.” My boyfriend off to the side was getting mad at me and tapping his watch. We were going to miss the flight to Atlanta for sure.
A lady TSA agent came up and instructed me to step over to the side and take off my shoes. She then told me how she was going to rub me down and palm my boobs. I couldn’t help but laugh as she patted every inch of me like she was actually going to find something. “Anything in your pockets?” she asked.
“Nothing but dramamine,” which I need for my extreme motion sickness and which I take to be courteous to everyone around me who may not appreciate being barfed on.
My boyfriend was video taping my rub down for prosterity and I couldn’t help but giggle at how stupid the entire situation was. I knew that it would be even funnier later on, assuming we didn’t miss the flight. My amusement was short lived as an older agent showed up and informed me that I would receive a letter and a substantial fine. He told me that the stun gun was a serious offense and that I could receive $1,000 to $2,500 fine.
I immediately began to tear up, which made all the male TSA agents instinctively want to comfort me and the video taping halted because it was no longer funny.
“Don’t worry, we’re letting you go,” said the nearest agent.
“I’m worried about the fine,” I told him wiping my eyes and smearing mascara down my face.
Again they asked me why I’d had the stun gun. I plead ignorance, which was the truth. I didn’t carry it every day and it was effectively buried under a large cosmetic bag and my diabetic supply kit. Eventually they had satisfied whatever ridiculous protocol they had for these types of situations, and let me go.
On the way back from New Orleans it was my counterpart who got the TSA business. A grim faced middle aged black lady stared into the x-ray of his carry on backpack and ordered a search. There was a large antique key that showed up on the scan and revealed it to be, exactly what it was. A souvenir, that opened nothing and was purchased to go in a curio cabinet that had not yet been obtained. A young bearded man with a much better sense of humor chuckled as he rummaged through the backpack dumping out dirty socks and t-shirts to find the key.
My boyfriend held it up in front of the agents who deemed that it was not a bomb or anything harmful, and let us pass after once again causing us to nearly miss the plane. Good job guys.