The last time I flew in an airplane, Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp were good friends. Times have changed. Airline regulations are designed to keep us safe. The guy who manufactures three-ounce bottles and quart-sized clear plastic bags recently purchased his own island. Meanwhile, the rest of us are worrying about how our hair will look the next day since we can squeeze only two hair products in the clear, quart-sized carry on bag.
In preparation for a recent trip, as I was trying I tried to cram all my tiny bottles in that bag, I asked my husband, “Do you think anyone would mind if I didn’t brush my teeth for two days?”
“Good grief honey,” he answered. “Take one hair product out of the bag!”
“Without my shampoo, conditioner, gel, mousse, and hairspray, I will look like Phyllis Diller!” I exclaimed.
He sighed. “You have to take toothpaste. I don’t want to hear another word about it.”
The next morning, he dropped me off at the airport curb clutching my 17-inch carry-on bag in one hand and my quart-sized, clear bag full of three-ounce bottles in the other.
There was no time for a kiss. “See you tomorrow night, Phyllis!” my husband shouted as he drove off.
I made my way toward the screening area line and removed my belt while walking down the hallway. I reached the agent at the entrance, clutching my pants to hold them up. “Boarding pass and valid driver’s license,” she ordered sternly. I let go of my pants while bending over slightly, using my elbow to hold them up while presenting my documents. She scrutinized and returned them. “Take off your shoes and coat and put your three-ounce items in a bin.”
As I bent over to remove my shoes, my pants slid down further and I’m pretty sure the tourist behind me who was on his way to see the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia viewed a crack he didn’t expect to see that early in his vacation. I placed my shoes, purse, three-ounce bottles, and carry-on bag in the bins on the belt. I pulled up my pants, much to the relief of the people in line behind me, and walked into the tiny booth. I positioned my feet on the footprints on the floor and waited. Suddenly, short bursts of air shot at me forcefully from every direction. I yelled, “Is this is a glaucoma test, because I just had one of these in July!” I didn’t hear a reply, so I walked out of the little booth.
The security agent came around the corner shaking his head. “Just like a little kid,” he said. “Get back in there and wait until I tell you to come out.”
“Do I have glaucoma?” I asked weakly when he motioned for me to come out. “I have blurred vision lately and reddening around my eyes, especially when I drink wine before dinner.”
He didn’t respond as he led me back to the booth. As I endured the blasts of air again, I realized I needed to walk through yet another screening area before I was cleared. I was pretty sure my three-ounce bottles would be in Chicago by the time I got through security.
Eventually, I boarded my plane and tried to jam my carry-on under the seat in front of me. I felt like a size 36DD woman trying to squeeze my sisters into a size 32A bra. The lone flight attendant offered to check my carry-on. I said edgily, “This is not leaving my side!” Together, we managed to fit that suitcase under the seat in front of me. Unfortunately, my legs then didn’t fit, and they had to sit back in seat 10F.
After enduring four flights in 24 hours, one of which was a white-knuckle flight through snow, wind, and a bolt of lightening that came within inches of hitting our wing, plus a six-hour delay in the Chicago airport, I’ve decided to take an Amtrak train the next time I have a meeting out-of-town.
I heard Amtrak has passenger snack cars and carry-on bags can weigh up to 50 pounds with no liquid restrictions. My hair is going to look great. Too bad I won’t be able to see it. I think I have glaucoma. Airport security broke the bad news during the screening process on my trip home … right after they asked me if anyone had ever told me I look like Phyllis Diller.