Monday, August 10, 2009

Frumpy is the New Dangerous

"Open your bag please, ma'am."

We've all heard it or some variation thereof. Perhaps we were going through the security check at the airport, perhaps we were entering a museum, perhaps we may have even been going to a concert.

As I may have mentioned, my family attended a couple concerts last week. My husband carries a messenger bag with numerous pockets and zippers. Upon entering one of the concerts he held his bag open and a guard glanced inside it then waved him through. My youngest daughter was right behind him. She did not have a bag, but she did have on a pair of baggy pants with numerous pockets and zippers. She was waved on through. My eldest was wearing jeans so tight there was no WAY she was carrying contraband. She was waved on through. My niece is small and cute and I'm not even sure they noticed her. She walked right through.

I approached the security table with my tote bag opened wide. No pockets. No zippers. I expected to keep walking. The guard held up his hand. "Please start removing items one at a time, ma'am."

I removed my journal. He made me open it.

I removed my reusable shopping bag. He made me open it, as well.

He spotted two cases for eyeglasses. He made me open both of those.

The line behind me was growing longer.

I removed my wallet.

"Is that your wallet, ma'am?"

"Yes." I avoided the temptation to say, "No, it's my diaphragm" because he didn't seem to have much of a sense of humor. And also because it's really big. And also because it was clearly a wallet. And also because I didn't think of it till much later.

"I'll need you to open it for me, please."

Oh, for reals? I opened my wallet. Each compartment.

He spotted my camera. "No flash photography, or you WILL be ejected."

On that friendly note he waved me on through to join my family. He seemed a little disappointed at not having been able to make a bust.

"Move along please, ma'am." he chided as I tried to fold everything back up so that it would fit in my bag.

Now let me be clear: I understand and respect the necessity of security checkpoints. If everyone had been receiving the same degree of scrutiny I would not have been offended at all. But I really seemed to have been singled out.

"Profiling!" I screamed (you know, in my head), but I couldn't decide what profile I fit. Do they have a big problem in this town with rogue middle-aged fat chick hoodlum gangs? Is there now a known correlation between frumpiness and danger of which I am not aware? Are all the nogoodniks smuggling illegal substances into concerts in their bifocal cases these days?

Maybe I need to watch the news more.

15 comments:

MiMi said...

Oh my gosh, what did he think was in your journal? Elaborate plans to blow the place up?? Hangman? Shopping list? Sheesh.
Hey, maybe we can start a gang of fat chicks. That'd rock.

Vivienne said...

It's always the quiet ones you don't expect...

Renee said...

Is that your wallet? No, it's my Diaphram! LMAO. HAHAHAHA. I totally would have said take it, and while you're at it, can you pay my credit card bills, you know, so you can use my cards too.

Sandy said...

Yeah, I've seen photos of you Tammy and you're scary...NOT!

I remember soon after 9/11 being taken out of line in an airport and being asked to remove my shoes....my husband was pissed! Profiling? I'm a six-foot-tall redhead?! They must have heard him call me that endearment he uses all the time....Mohamed

ModernMom said...

You just have to figure you are so hot he wanted to spend more time with you!

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Oh my gosh, I would have been so pissed. I am always so embarrassed about the mess in my bag every time this happens to me. Next concert maybe I'll just load the bag up with vibrating things (might need them afterwards) and see if I get waved through faster.

Pam said...

What a joke. Next time it might be fun to have diaphragm in there just so he can make you open it and deal with his embarassment.

BONNIE K said...

I spent a summer working for U.S. customs and we were to randomly put people's ID in the computer and if anything came up, we had to check them. I learned that those with the criminal backgrounds seemed to work very hard to look like every day tourists, thinking they wouldn't be checked. I guess you never know who will be carrying contraband, but I wonder what they were thinking they'd find.

SparkleFarkle said...

"I avoided the temptation to say, 'No, it's my diaphragm'..." I am keyboarding from the floor, where I am still howling with laughter!!! (Possibly, are you Catholic? I ALWAYS get stopped in these instances, as residual (I'm an "ex") Catholic guilt seems to surface at the most inopportune times, AND when I'm NOT the culprit.)

BTW, you’ve been TAGGED! http://sparkle-soup.blogspot.com/2009/08/from-up-my-sleeve.html

Michele said...

The whole thing was a bit much, but your JOURNAL?!?! I'm sorry...THAT is harassing!

Unknown Mami said...

Thank God he didn't find your razor sharp wit in there or you would have been arrested.

carma said...

maybe they are profiling bloggers!! I had a similar experience at the airport where my stuff was searched, but not MB's or VC's...hmmm...

Gibby said...

That is so WEIRD! Whenever this happens to me, I make sure a tampon falls out. That usually puts an end to any search.

The Redhead Riter said...

I feel for you. EVERY time I go through the airport, a whole herd of people will file through and they stop me. They even test my hands for bomb stuff. They test the bottoms of my shoes!!! I am there FOREVER looking like a criminal. I HATE FLYING ANYWAY so this just makes me hate it more!

Deb said...

One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to use the jokes and comebacks I'm not quick enough to come up with at the time (or wouldn't have the guts to say).

The diaphragm thing is still totally funny after-the-fact.