Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Accidental Terrorist ... I Mean Tourist: Part I

On two separate incidents, I was considered to be a ‘suspect’ during traveling. It may cause you to think twice if you are planning on traveling with me in the near future. At least make sure you are three or four people back from me in line so we aren’t associated together. This is more for your benefit than mine. You see, I tend to get frazzled under certain circumstances. Flying is one of them. Worrying is another issue. Worrying and frazzled, for me, go hand in hand.

About ten years ago, I was meeting John out in Columbus, Ohio, where he was finishing up a collegiate lacrosse training camp. I had never been to Columbus and John needed help driving back. I figured, why not? A little trip to the Midwest might be nice for a long weekend. I would fly out and then drive back with him. Sounds simple right?

I was at the Philly International Airport for my one way flight out to Columbus. It was very soon after the 9/11 tragedy and airport security was on high alert. I was nervous because it was the first time I was flying since the tragedy and I just don’t like flying alone. I went through the main security without incident and settled into the bar for a couple drinks.

Finally my flight was called and I got in line to board. At that time, National Guard was stationed in the airports. I was called out of line by security. They said it was a random search and asked me to step aside to go through my belongings. I had no problem with this. Then the physical pat down began. That went fine until two National Guardsmen walked over observing with rifles drawn. Now I was really getting nervous.

“Anything wrong, sir?” the Transportation Authority agent asked.
“I’m ... I’m fine. I just want to get on the plane and get underway.”
“I am working as quickly as I can sir, but I need to continue the security procedures.”

After the pat down, the agent got out his security wand and started sweeping up and down my body. The wand started beeping loudly across my belt buckle.  Everyone looked over at me.

I said, “It’s just my belt buckle.” I was sweating.
"Fine sir, can you unbuckle your belt.”
“Unbuckle my what?” I asked, not sure if I heard correctly.
“Unbuckle your belt sir! Unbuckle your belt,” he commanded adamantly.

“OH! OK! Sorry!” I exclaimed, unbuckling my belt and dropping my jeans to my knees. My lily white legs blinded everyone within 20 feet.
“SIR WHAT ARE YOU DOING? PLEASE PULL UP YOUR PANTS! PULL UP YOUR PANTS! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” the agent yelled.
“I DON’T KNOW! I DON'T KNOW! I AM SO NERVOUS!!!! I'M SORRY!”

I pulled up my jeans, lost balance, and stumbled forward red-faced. The two National Guardsmen started laughing hysterically as did the entire terminal of travelers. There I was, lily white turning to beet red with embarrassment.

“Ummm, OK sir, you can pull up your pants and get back in line. I don’t think you are a security threat.”

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad you are able to make such a humorous story about it now. I was laughing with you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You cannot not even come close to making up a better story than this one..I can see and hear it now...great re-creation..

    ReplyDelete