Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Before I share a glimpse of the charming city of St. John's, Newfoundland, please indulge me in a tragic tale of airport security measures.
Yes, it was my favourite pair of embroidery scissors that did me in. I foolishly thought that by now, the commandants of airport security would realize that middle aged ladies who embroider are probably the most unthreatening of travellers. After all, we carry the tools for peace in our handbags, and are unlikely to succumb to air rage as long as we have needle and thread close by.
But, as I say, I'm foolish.
These scissors had often travelled with me. Even though I had bought them at Michael's, they possessed a certain personality - confident and serene in their sharpness, reliable in the hand. They played an integral role in many an embroidery.
On this trip, they made it through security at Vancouver without fuss. (I guess this means that all those terrorists coming to the Olympics can bring their fingernail clippers without worry.) But in St. John's, the young security agent said the scissors were forbidden. She would have to dispose of them, or I could go back and check my small carry-on through the ticket desk.
The folly of my smug desire to travel light and avoid interminable waits at luggage carousels became sadly clear. I made a quick decision to give up my scissors, and then surprised the agent (and myself) by bursting into tears. "They have been with me for so long," I cried. "You can't just throw them away."
She looked at me with renewed interest, as if I might fling open my hoodie to reveal sticks of dynamite taped to my chest. I composed myself somewhat, and went off for a good cry in the women's washroom.
It wasn't just the loss of the scissors that upset me. It was that they were being thrown away, not going to a thrift store or a senior's home or a deserving crafty staff person. There are many things I resent the perpetrators of September 11 for - the loss of privacy, the attitude of paranoia and suspicion that pervades normal daily life, the increased cost to the public, and the tightening of borders. I now add to that list the criminalization of the stitching traveller.
Just take me to the taser zone now...
(Startare posted an excellent thoughful comment on this post, which was meant to be amusing. Please check out her comment and my reply, and goodness knows, I don't want to start any controversy.)