Monday, May 30, 2011

What Not To Do

#1 Do not try and take a camping knife through airport security.

The TSA will not support you in your decision.

It wasn’t a gigantic knife like one of those bowie knives you can buy off the TV at 2 am for six easy payments of 19.95. This was a collapsible Buck knife; something I use exclusively for cutting tags off newly purchased items and removing stray threads from clothing.

I didn't even know I had it in my backpack.

So I go through security. They put my bag through the scanner. They stare at the television screen for a minute. Then they say they are going to scan it again. Then they call somebody else over to stare at the screen, and then somebody else. So now there are 3 different people looking at the contents of my tiny backpack on a small television.

Finally they tell me they are going to check my bag by hand. I readily agree having no idea what is so confounding to these experts in safety. After 4 seconds the agent finds what she’s looking for, excuses herself and walks back over to her team with her hand still in the bag like she had to keep it a secret.

Then an old bald TSA agent with a look on his face I can only describe as "assholeish" sauntered, and I mean that, sauntered over to me holding the knife. He then repeatedly tried to open the knife like he was a Jet or a Shark.

I suppose it didn't help that after watching him try this multiple times I said:

That’s not how it works.

I don't think he liked that. After measuring the length of the blade with his fingers, which is apparently the international way for determining danger, he just looked up and stared me in the eyes. As if to say;

Where is the criminal in there?

This guy, this safety “expert”, who just 5 minutes before I heard telling his coworker he couldn't figure out how to use his Blackberry didn't like the cut of my jib, or maybe he didn't like my jib at all.

And then he said:

Alright friend, it's a lost item.

Not, “you can go back and check it”, or “we have to confiscate this because you can't bring a KNIFE on a PLANE”.

I pretty much knew it was gone as soon as he pulled it out of my bag. I was done owning it.

And then I walked away scot-free and was allowed to board my plane. Though as soon as I landed in London and went through customs I was afraid they were going to take one look at me and scream, "KNIFE!" and then tackle me like I was in a rugby match.

But then I got angry because I realized that twice in the last 4 days I had brought that same backpack through security with that knife in my bag. That means I twice traversed airport security without them once noticing that knife.


#2 Do not pack one light colored suit for several days of meetings and do not eat really drippy dark colored fruit for breakfast.

I mean it’s pretty simple. I am apparently a man-child and I can’t have nice things because I can’t eat my food without also simultaneously wearing it.

So there I am eating my proper British breakfast, pot of tea, eggs, bacon, mixed berries. I’m exercising care to make sure that everything I do makes me look like an official businessman in London doing important business man things.

Until I look down and see the red splotch on my thigh.

Now I have no options here so I wet my napkin and start furiously blotting my pant leg using so much water that by the time I stand up 20 minutes later to head to my first meeting, it looks like I was hit by a water balloon. But the good news is the stain came out.

Kind of.

#3 Do not lay underneath a train

As I mentioned recently, in New York, there are a bunch of cryptic messages that come across on the loudspeaker while you are commuting. But in London they are a bit more direct.

While walking through a tube station on my way to the exit, I heard an announcement from a beautiful British female voice that said:

Due to a person underneath a train, there are delays on the Jubilee line.

Wait, what?

UNDERNEATH A TRAIN? Are you kidding me? So seeing as trains sit on tracks, if somebody is underneath a train, they are also probably not alive. But of course, in that proper British lilt, it really makes it sound like not something that bad at all.

In New York, that just would have been:

Due to an earlier incident, trains are running at slower speeds.

The Brits don’t mince words.

#4 Do not drink all the tea they give you

I like to immerse myself in the local culture. In England, that means having a cup of tea whenever one is presented to you. Now when you stay in a hotel in the U.S. you have tea in your hotel room, but I never drink it. Maybe I will if I’m feeling zippy.

But in England it’s like a siren call. I feel the need to have a cup whenever I can. If somebody asks me if I want tea I am always saying yes. And they don't give you a cup, they give you an entire pot.

Which explains why I was running to the loo every 90 minutes.

#5 Do not sleep on a single bed

I have to be honest, even though in college I slept in a double bed (which was too small for me having had a queen bed my whole life, yes I know, spoiled) I had no knowledge that there was such a thing as a single bed.

It wasn’t until I walked into my room and sat down on my single bed (which was on wheels by the way) just how tiny such a thing is.

I couldn’t sit up in bed without the bed rolling away from the wall like I was at the starting line of a box car derby.

And lying in bed felt like I was trying to sleep on top of a Twinkie. If my legs had any distance between them, they would immediately start sliding off the edges of the bed so that I was straddling it like I was doing a horse trick.

So I spent my nights with all my appendages pressed together like I was about to be shot into space, which consequently I will probably never be allowed to visit because I would be the only idiot inadvertently trying to bring a knife on the spaceship.

Which is for the best, I’d probably just end up getting space fruit on my uniform anyway.


Valerie said...

OMG I loved this post. Speaking as a true Brit I can only say how hilarious I found it. We're a strange lot, aren't we. Imagine, a whole pot of tea!
I'll give you a tip, never travel without a Tide-to-go. The size of a pencil, it will fit into a pocket or a knapsack. It's brilliant for instant removal of stains and can only be bought in the US. If the security people confiscate it you can be certain they've got stains on their uniforms.

Caroline B said...

Just because we give you a whole pot, you don't have to drink it all! Although when I came back from living 13 years in Greece, I just could not keep up with people's insatiable thirst for tea - found out my kidneys work well at least.
I bet everyone on the train platform tutted and huffed at the inconsiderate person under the train - that's the usual reaction over here!
You have my sympathy as a fellow dirt magnet - it's impossible to stay clean for more than a couple of hours.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

You're so funny. I like reading your posts because they always make me crack up.
As far as staining your clothes from the food that you eat, that's why 90% of my wardrobe is made up of black outfits. I wish that it was okay for adults to wear bibs.
I've never tried to get a knife in through security, but they did take away my lotion once. It was a big bottle of lotion that I'd been given for Christmas, and I didn't want to put it in my luggage and end up with lotion-covered clothes. They didn't even offer to let me check the lotion or mail it back to me. I bet they used my gift and re-gifted it to someone else.

Pat said...

At least security confiscated a KNIFE from would have been even more embarrassing if it was just a pair of nail clippers!

Say what? A person under the train? What.... were they filming "Throw Mama from the Train II?"

Great post!

Kim Humes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Humes said...

haha you make me laugh. I love your sarcasm. I have been to London several times and I just LOVE that british female voice that does all the Tube announcements. "Please mind the gap between the train and the platform" never sounded so soothing

Not who I will be said...

Oh the MTA. I literally laughed aloud at work when I read "In New York, that just would have been:

Due to an earlier incident, trains are running at slower speeds." because I heard that message yesterday.

By the way, you're hilarious and I can't wait to read your blog more. (Oh and I've had a queen sized bed my whole life - spoiled too!)

Quirk Of Matter said...

Love your humor! I can't believe you go through airport security with a knife! If you didn't get caught I would say you had a new career option.
Personally I do everything I can to avoid flying. It's not the flying itself that scares me, but the cavity searches do.

Maya Whitt said...

Thats hilarious about the size of the bed... the Brits like things smaller, cars, roads, homes, beds... burgers... I just cant agree that a Brit quarter pounder mc.dee is worth the same as a big super sized american one. but the British ones taste better... I got side tracked, what was i saying? oh yea, miniature stuff. :)

Jenny DB said...

Twin beds just don't cut it! Dude TSA is ridiculous they have their heads so far up their asses, don't even get me started. I can't tell you how many times Ive had things confiscated on my RETURN flight.. like once it was perfume. REALLY? It didn't blow up the plane on the way out! Whatevs. Or how bout those guys who HAPPEN to get thru security with a gun. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely hilarious post. :)


Miss Dre said...

I chuckled the whole way through this post all while sharing similar sentiments... Especially being a person who tends to wear her food (as well as her children's) on her blouses from time to time.

totally loved it :)