Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seasoning the Well-Seasoned Traveller…To Taste

As a foodie I am totally aware that sometimes even the most experienced cooks screw up. Maybe it is a missed ingredient; where you look over the counter to a pile of chopped leeks that was supposed to be sautéed back in step one. Or maybe the new mixer you got overbeat the eggs, or cream or puree. Well I believe the same thing happens to even the most experienced travellers.

I recently departed for a flight to the East Coast. My wife had a meeting so we scheduled a mid-morning departure from Southern California, and being the productive husband that I try to be, I spent some time cleaning out boxes, which tend to collect in our loft. I broke down several before Mary returned and I threw our bags in the car and off we went. As I went through Security, emptying my pockets, I found there was one item left, which seemed unfamiliar.

Yes, there was the box-cutter, looking eerily similar to the ones used by the terrorists on 9/11. “I suppose I have to surrender this?” I asked the TSA attendant. “Only unless you would prefer to return to your car with it.” She answered. So I surrendered my $7 box-cutter and went sheepishly on my way. I should have known better. Even before 9/11 we had restrictions. At the time I used to routinely commute from Orange County to the Bay area, going up on Monday or Tuesday and returning on Thursday or Friday. I liked the schedule, partly because it gave me a chance to visit my sister in Marin County.

On one of those visits we divided some of my Mother’s possessions and Joan wanted me to have the silver knife used to cut my parent’s wedding cake. Okay! Okay, until I got to Security. “Too long”, they said. On that occasion I was lucky. A sympathetic supervisor said, “Do you fly out of here often?” When advised that I did, she said, “I’ll put it in the top drawer of the desk in my office, and you can pick it up next time.” She did, I did, and I mailed it home the next week. Who says Security doesn’t have a heart?

My last trip (just got back last night) was to the Bay area with my son. He likes to visit there because we lived close to where my meeting was during his formative years. As a matter of fact we went to church around the corner from where he went to Second Grade. When we checked into the Marriott I went through, what has become my check-in ritual. I look at the clock-radio and try to figure out how either or both of those elements work.

I have found that increasingly the pre-set buttons are for XM radio; the ports are for iPod or some similar device, and figuring out how to set the clock, the alarm, or find a normal FM station is harder than a search for the Holy Grail. Imagine my pleasure when I found all the buttons with familiar “hour” and “minute” “forward and backward” settings and even antique circles, which could be used to tune and control volume. As our Muslim friends are fond of saying, “God is indeed good.”

I never told my son my problem, choosing instead to let him believe that because I have an iPhone, I am technologically savvy. When we landed, and I turned on that iPhone, a mother behind me was saying to her three year-old son, “Stop whining. You know if you whine you get nothing.” To which he remonstrated that he wasn’t whining. I offered to help, commenting that my iPhone had an app that measured degrees of whine. “We could check it out and see where he hits.”

“That’s good!” she laughed, and my son was impressed.

1 comment:

  1. I used to travel a lot for my business before retiring. Luckily, I closed shop a few months before 9/11. The kinds of security hassles that exist today would have driven me bonkers if I continued to fly 100,000 miles a year.

    It was nice you ran into a few TSA agents who were understanding and accommodating.