Keep Calm and Carry-On – if you can!

Every time we depart from our local airport it’s a fiasco going through security with our carry-on baggage. I thought I would be able to stop writing about this long ago, but the saga just continues with every trip. The question is, “how can you keep calm if you have carry-on?”

We knew already, before we entered security, there would be problems and sure enough, we weren’t disappointed. I dumped everything possible in the little tray but the detector still beeped persistently. Then came the good news. “You’ve been randomly selected for an additional security check.” “Oh, no! Not me!” “Would you like the full-body scan or the pat-down?” “I have no idea. What works best?” “We’ll do a pat-down. Just strip in front of all these people and leave it to me!”…..

Okay, I’m exaggerating now, but not much! The guy went to work with his hands and his baton. Beep, beep, beep! Something wasn’t right. Apparently I had a metallic knee, a metallic elbow and a metallic shoulder. If that was true, I would be worth a fortune to a scrap metal dealer. Every beep was accompanied by a pat-down and I was wondering – or should I say worrying – where it was going to beep next! I was saved at the bell only because the queue of inquisitive people was backing up too far.Then I went to join my wife who was having her own discussions. “What’s the little white object showing up on the screen?” “It’s the remainder of our bottle-opener set. You confiscated the mini-knife, last time!” “Well, what’s the little black object then?” “It’s our manicure set. You allowed it through, last time!” “I’ll have to discuss this with the supervisor!” “You did that too, last time!” “Keep calm!” “Carry on!”

We finally exited from security and relaxed with a coffee, but not for long. “Would Mr. & Mrs. U-No-Who please report to the airline desk immediately!” “OMG”, I was thinking. “We must be overbooked!” I gulped down my coffee, nearly spilling it all over myself and we headed to the airline desk. The lady scrutinized our boarding cards and declared, “I’m only interested in you!” “Who? Surely, not me again! Is there a target on my back or something?” “You’ve been randomly selected for an additional security check!” “I’ve just had one!” “Not according to the computer!” “How do you know?” “Because, there’s a little circle and no stamp on your boarding card!” came the triumphant response. “You’ll have to come with me back to security!” “Oh! No!” “Oh, Yes!”

We returned to security, where a list of names was checked, which should have included mine but of course, didn’t! Apparently, the guy was so engrossed in his bleeping pat-down that he neglected to put my name on the list or a stamp on my boarding card. Maybe he was hoping I would come round again, but fortunately, this time, everyone was too busy and nobody wanted to inspect me at all. There were various discussions and eventually they decided to improvise. One person did the finger powder check, just for a change, while another person attempted a pat-down but gave up in the end and added my name to the list with a sigh of relief which I echoed.

We made it to the US flight with our carry-on. The return Canadian flight insisted we check-in the carry-on! Did somebody once say, “Keep calm and carry on!” All I know, is if my experience is any indication, there’s only one conclusion to be drawn. It’s not possible to keep calm, if you have carry-on!