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Friday, April 14, 2017

what if i had a pointed stick?

The no plot family has just returned from a 5-day jaunt in the wilds of New York City, Big Apple, and boy, did we have some big city adventures.

Our story began in an unusual way for us in that Her Father was away on business and was going to meet us there.  SWDNO and I have only travelled together by plane without Her Father one time before and that involved a journey home from Halifax and a minor panic attack when I couldn't find her ID which it turned out I didn't actually need because it wasn't required of someone under the age of 16.

I have travelled many times on my own but I had forgotten about the extra steps for checking in to an international flight and I didn't have everything I needed handy. Her Father would normally handle those details; I am usually in a minor/major panic over all the things I have to do the day before a flight so I let him. After struggling with the bureaucracy and the snotty, impatient foot tapping of the Air Canada check-in website, I came to the realization that I needed to give my husband a raise.

Then we had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to catch our flight. I managed to handle that much better than usual with nary a panicky twinge, even grabbing some breakfast snacks for later since my stomach refuses to wake up until it sees a decent amount of light in the sky.  I even ate said snacks, or most of them, as we flew from St. John's to Halifax to Montreal. SWDNO has a sleepier stomach than mine, being a teenage stomach and all, otherwise I swear I would have shared with her.

Montreal was the launching point for our migration south to the Land of the Free; we were certainly bringing the weary, if not the poverty - we would become a lot poorer the longer we stayed near the Statue of Liberty, in fact.  Still, I was pretty chipper for someone who had had only a few hours sleep.

When we had to pass from the lackluster Canadian-secured departure area for the hyper-secure-bordering-on-paranoid American-secured departure area, I found it amusing when my carry on bag took a slight detour so that it could be searched. I couldn't think what had raised the alarm because I usually hide my illegal goods quite cleverly.

It turned out, I had a fully loaded banana guard in my bag that the security agent retrieved with a grin and waved in the air to show his comrade on the x-ray machine. They let us pass through even though we were clearly a security risk. Good thing I hadn't come at them with a handful of raspberries.*

My banana was not destined to escape additional scrutiny, however.

Instead of proceeding to the never ending, hardly moving line to the next available customs agent, SWDNO and I were then directed to a electronic kiosk where we were given the 3rd degree by a jumped-up ATM which tried to trip us up with questions like were we dangerous criminals carrying any guns, explosives, or surfboards? As an experienced traveller, I know you just say "no" to everything without reading the questions.

SWDNO had never been asked these questions directly before so she insisted that we had to answer one question "yes". We were in fact trying to import one single, solitary banana into the country and therefore had to pay once again for our sin.

The ATM printed out a couple of disapproving chits into our waiting hands. It's disapproval was made plain by the large "x" slashed across each one.

We were then shuttled into another incredibly short line - we were the entire line in fact. I guess it was the troublemakers line and no one else dared to make any trouble in the glare of the American Homeland Security spotlights.  We waited for someone to release the hounds.

We were finally waved over to an actual human customs officer** who seemed to not even notice the badges of shame that our chits were wearing.  He repeated most of the same questions as the ATM but in a slightly different way, hoping no doubt to trip us up.

He nearly got me too. He asked if we had any food and I was in the middle of saying no when it occurred to me that bananas are also a type of food in addition to being military ordnance. I hastily admitted to the banana as casually as I could.

I pointed an accusing finger at my own daughter and claimed she was to blame for all this unpleasantness having insisted on my answering the question truthfully.

The customs officer laughed and said at least she was honest. Then he waved us through.

Imagine our glee as we stood on the other side of the sliding doors, essentially already on American soil with our nutritious snack/WMD still in hand.

In a few short hours we were loose on the streets of New York, armed for bear.

Sadly, our sole checked suitcase lost its nerve at the last minute. She organized a small rebellion of 5 or 6 other items of luggage and refused to cross the border. We learned this upon our arrival at La Guardia when the luggage carousel refused to provide any more items for a small group of us to choose from.

Air Canada managed to round up the recalcitrant baggage and dragged them into Trumpland later that same day, kicking and screaming I imagine. Our bag waited until the dead of night to slip unseen into the city, under cover of darkness.

The rest of the story you can hear about on Fox News.

*Thanks, Jennifer. :-)
One of our travelling companions suggested that security hadn't really thought it was a weapon but that they were hoping it was something naughty. She is clearly not a Monty Python fan.
**could have been a terminator

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