1. Travel with a kid who plants his feet and says stubbornly, “No! I WON’T take my jacket off! I WON’T take my shoes off!”
2. Travel with a cute little girl who likes to play hard-to-get. She’ll pretend that she’s walking through the metal detector to you, only to turn around mid-arch and run away.
3. Travel with a kid who thinks he’s being helpful by running BACK through the metal detector to chase after her.
4. But my very best worst lesson of all dates from the pre-kids, full-time liturgy era, and was safely buried in the “Memories that Make You Shudder Whenever You Think Of Them” file, until we had to start explaining to Alex about the TSA and why we had to do EXACTLY what they told us.
We were flying out of Kansas City for a Basi family trip, and they flagged me going through the line. The woman was very cagey about what she had seen in my carryon, but she went digging and digging until she came up with…are you ready for this? A steak knife.
Imagine my horror.
It was an old, cheap, extremely dull steak knife, along with a mismatched fork, that I had been carrying back and forth to work for months to cut tomatoes for cottage cheese & tomato lunches. But at some point I got tired of that lunch and quit packing it. And then I forgot about the knife. And it burrowed its way to the bottom of my bag.
And we flew from Kansas City to Denver, and spent a week in the mountains. Then we flew from Denver to Kansas City, back home. And no one caught it. And I went along in blissful ignorance that I was carrying a great big fat no no in my bag.
Until the day I found myself in a taped-off area of the airport gate, with a police officer measuring the knife to find out if it constituted an automatic trip to jail. Frankly, I think it did, but thank God, they sized up this trembling, frightened, obviously freaked out twenty-something and realized that I was obviously harmless…and they let me go. (Without the knife.)
Since that day, I have become a compulsive bag-emptier before every flight. Even the homebound ones. You never know what you might have thrown into your bag during the trip, without thinking about it.
(Visit Works for me Wednesday at wearethatfamily.com for more useful tips than mine!)