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Glimpses of Grace

'Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane'

In Glimpses of Grace

By Dorothy Horne
Oct. 22, 2015 at 4:19 p.m.
Updated Oct. 22, 2015 at 4:19 p.m.


Fake hips make some things more complicated, such as going through security at the airport. I found out when checking in for our recent flight to North Carolina you get no sympathy from the security guards when your hip sets off the alarm – only a “pat-down” (one of life’s bigger little annoyances).

I may have exacerbated the situation, I’ll admit. Before Byron and I got to the airport I put our I.D.’s in a “safe and easily accessible place” in my purse (which is as big as a small suitcase and just as heavy) just like I was supposed to. We arrived, checked in our bags and made our way to the security entrance.

“I.D.’s please,” said the stern-looking agent.

I confidently reached into my safe and easily accessible place – but wrong safe place, apparently. I couldn’t find them. (The sad truth is – there is no such thing as a “safe place” for a person like me.)

Nervously, I began rifling around in my purse – looking in all the pockets as well as beneath the gum wrappers and other assorted minutia. Where were they? My anxiety grew in direct proportion to the line behind us. I was running out of pockets in which to look. I hesitantly asked the agent if there was anything else I could show him. He said, “OK – do you have a visa?” 

Whew, I thought, and pulled out my Visa credit card.

“Here you go, sir,” I said with relief.

He looked at me with thinly veiled disdain.

“We. Don’t. Take. Credit. Cards.”

Oh yeah – I knew that – ha ha! I laughed at myself because it seemed pretty funny to me. Not to him. These people take themselves way too seriously (which is why they are airport security and I’m not).

Desperately, I rifled through my purse once more and voila! Found the I.D.’s in their very secret and very safe place. (I think they put themselves there, or else Siri did.) The agent let us through, glad to be rid of us. For the first time during our encounter, he looked positively carefree.

I was exhausted, but we still had the metal detector walk-through device to deal with. (We didn’t have to take off our shoes and all that because we were rated “low risk passengers,” (they didn’t really know us). We were having a pleasant chat with the security people, and as I was stepping through the gate I remembered to tell them about my hip. The alarm went off and all their friendliness evaporated. I was immediately escorted over to the pat-down lady (where is “imaging technology” when you need it?) as I continued to protest that it was my hip, not a knife. 

About that time Byron also set off the alarm. I heard the agent exclaim incredulously, “He has three knives.”  (Oh great, I thought. That’s the end of this trip, and no more “low-risk” list.) I tried to explain that he always carries three Swiss Army knives in his pocket.  No, I didn’t know why. It’s just one of those things married people accept about each other, I told them. I also didn’t have any explanation as to why I hadn’t reminded him to take them out if I knew he always carried them around.  

Finally, the agent, eager to be rid of us (as was everybody else), offered us a deal.

“You can go back downstairs and put them in your checked bag if you want to keep them, sir. But your wife,” he said, motioning dismissively towards me, “will have to come through security again and have another pat-down.”

(Yeah, right, Buster. You can’t trust a person with a steel hip. I might go off and sharpen it or something.) On second thought, maybe not a bad idea. Wonder if it would qualify for concealed carry?

And I’m sorry to say the knives didn’t make it.

(Maybe next time I will just take that fast train….)

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