Posted by lex, on July 15th, 2011
So, mission complete from my east coast trip, about which more may or may not be said later, depending upon the breaks. Your host was reminded, not for the first time, about the degraded state of travel in ‘Murica these days. For at Lindbergh Field here in Sandy Eggo they have one of those full body scanners the better for to image the nether parts of 50-year old former strike fighter pilots while the Somali family wrapped in traditional cover-up are waived behind a screen for whatever form of search awaits them, being seen in all their simulated nekkidness on the monitor being apparently too much for their diggity, like.
We were not groped. We were so looking forward to a good groping, but no: It was not to be.
Perhaps if I was still six years old. Or eighty-odd and wheelchair bound.
Anyway, I near despaired once in the cabin on the outbound leg, for Delta is nothing but efficient in packing them hoof-to-shoulder in cattle class and their woudna have been room for a fairy or even a sprite once we’d all taken our places. Overhead bins were likewise stuffed to the overflow, pragmatic folks of all sorts having found that they can make do with less checked baggage at $25 a pop. There was a wee clan of Amish or maybe Mennonites directly behind and across the aisle, flying to Atlanta with Them English. Hizzoner was young and strapping, with an ear-to-ear 19th century beard adorning his broad jaw, herself pleasingly plump, be-aproned and wearing a kind of hat. Which must have hidden the hat pin with which she was sticking their infant child, for the bairn was that shocked, appalled and outraged at his current status, and bewailed it loudly and often, the last cries ending each time in an almost laughing shudder before renewing themselves in full throat. He went on for the length of a book, and as an experienced parent I wanted to pass on my advice to check his diaper, feed him summat or shake him with ever-increasing violence until finally he settled down, preferably in that order. But no. They’d probably arrest me, and where has all the justice gone in the world?
Atlanta was disgracefully hot and humid in mid-July, a fact that I could have conjured from memory had I chosen to but suppressed until faced with the undeniable physical evidence. Son Number One, sweltering through his instrument navigation stage in Pensacola, Florida, was unsympathetic when I texted him the news. Call me back when it’s a 100/100 he said, meaning temperature over humidity, and that in an un-airconditioned heliflopper with plexiglass in every quadrant. Which, respect thy father and his whining the good book says, or prolly orta if it doesn’t and I thought I’d raised him better, but there you have it.
From there Delta carried me back to Old Virginny, and they’ve learned their lesson about charging military folks for more, haven’t they precious, for the plane was half soldiers, and the flight attendants were inordinately unctuous, bless their little hearts. Arriving at my own, my native land, *** they even asked us all to share in their appreciation of the servicemen and everyone politely joined in, as is right and proper.
Arriving too late in the day to do much in the way of anything, your host dined in sumptuous splendor on a pair of flash seared crab cakes at the Red Lobster, and I know, don’t get me started. Off to bed, up early the next day and back on the plane west by 3PM. Except that to travel via US Air from Newport News to Sandy Eggo, one is obliged to travel first to Philadelphia, which gets you no closer to your destination than you were before and in fact gives up a fair amount of westing, but that’s the hub and spoke for you. If I’d had my own private jet I could have gone pretty much GPS direct and saved a lot of bother while becoming an enemy of the state.
Home safely at 9PM, the Hobbit awaiting me in the cell phone lot, I stepped back into the cool coastal breezes that felt like a perfectly chilled martini in my hand. The weather here, you know. That’s what it’s all about. Not all the surfing, pot smoking, hot tubbing or wife swapping.
It’s the weather.
So, at any rate, my travel was more successful, and far less eventful than that of young Amr Gamal Shedid, a Baltimore man of some 24 summers who was found with 13 switchblade or butterfly knives in his carry-on bag at BWI: *
TSA spokesman Kawika Riley says an officer operating an X-ray machine at Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport last week noticed something suspicious in the man’s luggage. A search turned up the knives, including switchblades and a butterfly knife.
Maryland Transportation Authority Police spokesman Sgt. Kirk Perez says 25-year-old Amr Gamal Shedid of Baltimore was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, interfering with security procedures and having an unauthorized weapon in an airport. He says Shedid, who was headed to Minnesota, stated that he collects knives.
So an unaccustomed tip of the hat to the sharpies at TSA, even though it would have taken gross incompetence of a remarkable nature even in the federal bureaucracy to miss 13 knives in a hand-held. Which apparently he collects them more or less in pairs, for your host can tease out at least three sets that seem to match perfectly, and potentially a triplet if you concede case color to cutting edge.
Which even an exotically named Baltimoron ought to know that 13 knives in carry-on is infinity times the number which are permitted, one of those mathematical curiosities which arrive by multiplying or dividing by zero. And we hesitate to profile here, if only for form’s sake, but if Amr Gamal Shedid seems to you an unlikely name for a citizen of “The Greatest City in America” (even if that city can have a TSA spokesman y-clept Kawika), then you may congratulate yourself, for it turns out the man is actually from Egypt. **
Which proves absolutely nothing apart from the fact that he is some class of imported eedjit, and I certainly hope that DHS is carefully screening the passenger list to determine which class of imported eedjit that is, God knows we have enough of our own without replenishing from foreign stocks.
As for me, this being one of my precious few days of time off, I am off to the links to whack the white ball around and think no more on these things, it was nice chatting with you.
** 05-24-2018 link changed – Ed.
*** 05-24-2018 Link Gone No replacement could be found – Ed.
**** 05-24-2018 Link Gone No replacement could be found – Ed.