Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I went to San Diego this weekend with my sister Erin, my nephew Ben (6), and my niece Avery (5). As I was packing for my trip, I spent a good amount of time trying to decide what to wear on the plane. This is a big decision for a single girl because you never know when you might find yourself in the middle of a romantic comedy plot, seated next to a single doctor who worked his way through medical school as a mechanic and who helps you pass the time on the flight with his incredibly witty banter. Has this ever happened to me? No, of course not. I usually get seated next to a kid, a woman, a married couple or, one time, a man who watched a video of the Dalai Lama for the entire flight and cringed if my arm brushed his. But we must keep the dream alive, friends. Must . . . keep . . . dream . . . alive.

Now on this particular flight, I knew that I'd be sitting next the cutest 5 and 6 year old on the planet but, still, I had to look cute just in case. So I chose to wear a pair of trouser jeans (cute yet comfy), a purple long-sleeved shirt with this cute little ruffle on the front, a cute pair of black wedges and my SUPER cute new travel purse that I just bought from Charming Charlie. Wanna see it? Okay!
[Pause to allow you sufficient time to ooooooooh and aaaaaaaaaah . . .]

It was all just so . . . CUTE!!

We went to the airport, checked our bags, and headed to the security line. As we were waiting in for our turn, I discussed my new purse with my sister and we talked in great detail about how cute it was and how everyone in San Diego would be so jealous of it. I was feeling pretty good about myself and spent a minute or two daydreaming about how the California paparazzi would mistake me for someone famous because of my cute new purse.

And that's when the security people mistook me for a terrorist.

I guess that terrorists are wearing precious ruffly shirts with super cute purses these days? Beeeeeeeeeecause I apparently fit the profile. I get it - I looked SUPER threatening.

I was informed that I had been selected to undergo a special security screening - she almost made it sound like a prize or like a very selective process that I should be proud I got through. She made me stand to the side while I watched my sister and the kiddos go through their REGULAR security screening. People were looking at me and, just to make me feel THAT much more special, the lady who had stopped me kept getting on her walkie talkie saying things like "I need a female security check up here. Female security check." I started smiling nervously at passersby and found myself loudly humming some gospel-sounding version of "America the Beautiful" with my eyes closed and my hand on my heart.

Finally, a new security agent came to escort me to the front of the line so that I could have my bags scanned. While those were scanning, she had me stand over to the side, under the close supervision of another security agent who was approximately 8 feet tall and very intimidating. Then she came to get me and took me to her little search station. That's when she explained the procedure to me in that monotone that Federal employees do so well:

Lady: Okay. I'm going to perform a full body search.
Me: [gulp]
Lady: I am going to touch everything from your hair to your feet.
Lady: When I get to sensitive areas like your breasts, buttocks and groin, I will use the back of my hand.
Me: Are you at least going to buy me dinner first?
Lady: Would you like a private screening?
Me: [Oh dear God - this lady means business.]

So then she performed the full body search on me in front of God and everyone. Luckily, she didn't have to search any body cavities but she might as well have. About midway through this traumatic experience, I looked up to see my sister and the kids coming through security. I was so glad to see them - some familiar faces to help me through my time of need. But did they give me sympathetic looks? No. Did they smile encouragingly? No. Did they yell "Let our Catchy go!!" No, of course not. Not my family. They stood there laughing while my sister took pictures of the whole thing on her phone:

So after she finished taking advantage of me, she declared that I was, in fact, not a terrorist and let me go. I asked her if she was at least going to offer me a cigarette but she didn't get it. So I just left before they decided to search my various cavities after all.

After all that, you know what the most frustrating part of the whole experience was for me? It wasn't the inconvenience of it. It wasn't the near strip-search in front of everyone. It wasn't even the fact that it almost made us late for our flight. No - the most frustrating part was that, after all that time searching my new purse, she NEVER said it was cute.

I mean, was she BLIND??


Anonymous said...

Good one Catchy! This stuff ALWAYS happens to you. But I guess if it didn't you wouldn't have anything to write about! DS

Jill said...

Thank you Erin!!! That post just wouldn't have been the same without the picture of the pat down. Oh yeah, and the purse. : )