Never ever, ever forget to take everything out of your pockets at an airport security check-in. And always put your clippers and pocket knife in your checked baggage.
We got up this morning, had breakfast and started our journey to the Atlanta airport. Upon arriving, we checked our bag and started to wander towards the security check-in. We got to the line, I took off my belt and shoes, placed everything in the bins and pushed them through. I turned around and walked through the metal detector. A loud blaring alarm went off and I was asked to back up and empty out my pockets. I realized that I forgot to take out my phone and iPod, so I did that and walked through the detector again.
The alarm blared. The guard motioned me forward to get into the millimeter wave detector or get a pat down. I thought of the “Joey’s tailor” episode of Friends (probably because Becca just watched it the other day) and elected for the millimeter thingy. It was very similar to the big round X-Ray device that they use to get your 3D tooth pictures at the dentist, except it was see-through. I had to stand with me legs spread and my hands above my head, with my elbows bent.
At first, it seemed to go well. Until they discovered that I had my pocket knife and a pair of fingernail clippers still in my pocket. I was surprised that I had forgotten to take them out and leave them in my shaving bag and shrugged my shoulders. That is when the real problems started. Because they were in my “watch pocket”, the guard decided that I must have been trying to “smuggle” them in. He had me get out of the millimeter thingy and follow him into the back room. You know how the cop shows have their interrogation rooms? Well, that is how this one was too; concrete blocks painted a nasty light yellow / off-white combination. A steel table up against the wall with two metal chairs and a mirror that was probably a one-way window. I was told to sit down in one of the chairs and the guard sat down in the other while he made a radio call and we waited for some else to arrive. He was asking me questions about why I was trying to hide my knife and who I was working with. Was the woman I am traveling with in on it too? Were we even married? I remembered a video I saw by a retired police office from Miami or someplace like that, who’s advice was to never ever talk unless you have a lawyer present because the interrogator can get you to say just about anything and make it sound incriminating. I kept my mouth shut.
About fifteen minutes later, the new arrival was a woman with an electronic finger print scanner. He already had my driver’s license, but they wanted to make sure I was who I said I was. I remember getting my prints done many years ago at the Hubbard county fair, so I figured it would be a piece of cake and I would be out of there in a few minutes. Boy was I wrong… I should have known that something was messed up when three more guards crowded into the room and one of them put plastic zip-cuffs on me. Apparently my prints came back as unknown, but my face looks very similar to someone on some watch list somewhere. I was escorted to a different holding room while more checks were made.
The room was the same putrid shade of yellow, but it was slightly larger and had a bench along the wall opposite the door. There was a window on the other wall and a metal table and chair under it. I wasn’t the only one in the room either. A large black man named Tyronne was there waiting to be transferred to the Fulton county jail. He is about six-foot-six and three-hundred and seventy pounds I would estimate. Apparently he went to the airport to see his teen aged daughter off to somewhere, only his ex-wife has a restraining order against him. He wasn’t supposed to be within 300 feet from either of them and she saw him. The airport police grabbed him and since this was his second time breaking the order, he was taken into custody. He also had something else happen back a couple years ago that he didn’t want to talk about, only to say that if he gets into trouble for this, he was going to jail for quite a while.
He was really a pretty nice guy though and after talking to him for a bit, I mentioned that if he had already broken the restraining order once before, he was probably going to get into some trouble for this time. I shouldn’t have said that because he started freaking out and yelling that he didn’t want to go back and that he had to get out of here. I sat on the bench in shock as he picked up the chair and smashed the window above the table. I didn’t quite know what to do. Somehow he squeezed his considerable bulk through the hole he made. I snapped out of my shock when he started screaming, jumped up on the table to see what happened to him and realized that we were about twenty feet above the ground and he was holding on the the ledge. I grabbed his arm and tried to pull him in, but he was almost twice my weight and I wasn’t able to get anywhere. I started maneuvering myself more out of the window so I could get a better grip on him. Just then a guard came in, saw what was going on and rushed towards me. He grabbed onto me and started pulling my leg; just as I have been pulling yours! 🙂