Random Blog A Musing Farf

Monday, October 30, 2006


Husband and I went to Palm Springs, CA for a wedding this weekend. We were literally in CA only 24 hours and spent more time in airports than at the resort. Luckily, this is where the most interesting part of the weekend took place.

Normally, I am opposed to checking baggage for any trip that lasts less than 5 days. However, with the new rules limiting gels and liquids we decided that in order to accommodate the tools needed for Husband’s extensive hair and skin routine and my make-up, it was easier to check luggage. Thus freed from any gels and liquids on our person, we headed to security worrying only about whether we remembered to wear socks without holes.

Standing in the security line in the Palm Springs airport, a TSA guy noticed Husband’s Mets t-shirt and chatted briefly with us about Beltran’s depressing at-bat. As the TSA guy walked away, a woman in front of us in line turned asked, “As a fellow Mets fan, can I ask you a favor?” Assuming she would ask us to stop rehashing the sad last couple weeks, we agreed and she then asked me if I was carrying any gels or liquids. Figuring that in the desert heat she was in desperate need of moisturizer (I know I was!) I shook my head apologetically and told her that it was all checked. At that point she asked me to carry her bag onto the plane.

Husband and I were shocked into dumbfounded silence for a second. Hadn’t we just passed ten bold-lettered signs telling us never to take a bag for someone? And does rooting for the same baseball team make us close friends? She went on to explain that she was carrying more than the allowable amount of gel/liquid and she just anted me to carry her bag through security and then she would take it back. I refused. I mean really. I saw Brokedown Palace and although I am sure prison in Palm Springs is better than Turkey, I don’t really want to sample either option.

(As an aside, I never did see that woman get on the plane so it is possible she is still being stripped searched in California)

I related the story to some strangers upon landing in Newark and we all laughed at the woman. Then, expecting the same reaction I called Mother and told her the story. She told me that she has asked people to carry her luggage and they have complied. Father has also asked people to carry his bag through security and they have agreed. Is it just me or does this seem like a huge security breach?

I wonder too if there aren’t some racism and class issues at play. While neither my parents nor anyone else with who, I associate would ever judge anyone by the color of their skin, I wonder if my parents would be so quick to carry luggage for someone of Arab descent or who was poorly dressed? Terrorists come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Timmy McVeigh looked, by all accounts to be a nice white middle class kind of guy, but you would not want to carry his luggage through airport security. The woman at the airport in Palm Springs was white, but would she have even dared to ask someone to carry something on-board if she wasn’t? And while we did not report her to security for asking, would I have been more nervous if she looked less like me?

Ultimately too, it may be a generational thing. My co-workers (all about my age) would never carry something though security for someone and neither would Sister, but Law Firm Partner, who is closer to the age of my parents could not understand why I would not have taken the bag.

So in the end, I went though security with only my own luggage and the flight was uneventful. Exactly like it should be.


Suzanne said...

Damn, are people crazy? (Rhetorical question.) I would never fucking carry anyone else's shit through security, nor would I think of asking. That is madness. (No offense to your parents.)

I have the same aversion to checking bags. Even if they are not lost, you have to wait forever to claim them, when you can be on your merry way to wherever. I am a master of functional packing as a result.

new mom said...

With all the nuts out there, even nice nuts, we would never do that, especially now. Good for you!