Thursday, November 2, 2006

Traveling with a Kitchen Faucet

Background to the following story: I carried a kitchen faucet (that my stepmom bought in Oklahoma), to California to transport to Belize, Central America. However, my trip got delayed indefinitely, so I had to carry the faucet back to Oklahoma, but I was flying to North Carolina first (on my way to OK). The idea was to give the faucet to my aunt in Oklahoma to take to Belize. As most of you know, I don’t like to check bags ... And the story begins ...

Well, the faucet caused quite a stir in my carryon bag. First, the security guy stopped the conveyor belt when my bag was going through. He just stared and stared at the screen. He finally called another guy over who also stared, and then a supervisor was called over.

They kept asking each other - “What do you think it is?

I kept saying “It is a faucet”, but they were not paying attention to me; well, except for when security guy number two would look up and say “Please step back sir.

FINALLY, the supervisor looked up and said “Whose bag is in here?

I said “Mine sir, and I think what you are looking at is a faucet.

And then all three guys went “oooohhhhh” and started smiling, pointing at it, and congratulating themselves for figuring it out (I guess they forgot I just told them).

Of course then the supervisor asked “Uh sir, why are you carrying a faucet in your carryon bag?

The lady behind me, with one hand on her hip and her front foot stomping, said “Yeah, why you carryin’ a faucet?!?!” (I think she was not so much curious as she was annoyed since her bags were being held up)

To which I said, “I am transporting it to my folks in Central America; nice faucets are hard to come by in 3rd world countries.

The supervisor asked for my tickets, glanced at my ticket to Raleigh, NC, and said “Uh, sir, you do realize you aren’t going to Central America?!?!

So, then I had to explain how I was going to North Carolina for a few days, and then to Oklahoma, and then my aunt was taking the faucet from there to Central America.

To which the first security guy said “Wouldn’t it have been easier to just buy the faucet in Oklahoma?

Lady-with-hand-on hip moved about 8 inches from my face and said “Yeah wouldn’t it have been easier?” (at this point, I started wondering if she suffered from echolalia)

Anyway, I said, “Well, it was actually bought in Oklahoma, but I took it to California with me.

What?” said the first security guy – obviously confused

What!?!?!” said echolalia lady as her head snaps back and mouth pops open with a complete look of exasperation.

So, I had to explain how I had been planning on going to Central America a couple months ago. So, I carried the faucet from Oklahoma to California. But then my trip got delayed, and now the faucet is making its way back to Oklahoma.

The first security guy then said “Then wouldn’t it have been easier to just buy the faucet in California?” And then before I could answer, he said “Oh never mind, don’t answer that ... Please step over here sir.

At this point echolalia/hand-on-hip lady gives a grunt of satisfaction and pushes past me.

Fifteen minutes later, after they went through my bag with a fine-toothed comb and verified the faucet was indeed a faucet, I was finally free to go. I should point out that when the security guy put a rubber glove on, I got worried. But, I guess they do that before sticking their hands into any bag (whew!).

The morals to this story are numerous. First, let the purchaser of the faucet carry the faucet! Second, don’t put a kitchen faucet in a carryon bag. Third, sometimes too much honesty can be confusing - I should have just said I bought it for a plumber friend in North Carolina. Next, if you move to a 3rd world country, just suck it up and use a 3rd world faucet. And the main moral of the story is ... next time you pack everything, including the kitchen sink, I recommend leaving the faucet at home.


P.S. With the exception of a few added commentaries, this story is true. The picture to the right shows me and my buddy showing off the infamous faucet and carryon bag :)

Addendum – About 2 hours after writing this in the airport, I got up to use the restroom and realized I never got my boarding passes back from the supervisor. They may have called me over the loudspeakers, but I was listening to music with my headphones on. Anyway, I went down to security, and they could not find the boarding passes. So, I had to go back through security to get new ones printed. Luckily, security guy #1 was still there when I came back, and when my bag went through, he just waived me on – whew! :)

Also, my sister reminded me that the faucet had traveled via car from OK to FL, and then by plane (in a checked bag) from FL to CA. I am glad I did not remember that when I was in the airport as it would have added to the confusion :)

My friend Gloria had this amusing experience...I had a similar experience to the faucet when a bottle opener was found in my bag (It was placed in the bag 2 years before during a camping trip and never removed.) Because airport security saw it through the screen, they asked if I was carrying one. Of course, I was not aware of it and said "No!" After I explained what happened, they said that they will have to take it away from my bag, so I said "Oh it's OK because I HAVE MORE!" (pure Spaniard innocence!!!...I was just thinking aloud about the bottle openers at home). Of course, I got 'special treatment' as I was asked to remove my shoes and had to answer additional questions.

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