I use to travel quite a bit by plane. My mother was a supervisor for Southwest Airlines, and so she gave me passes to fly from Los Angeles to Phoenix to visit with her.
The year was 1993. A simpler time. During one of my frequent trips through airport security (insert exaggerated use of air quotes here) I was stopped one day on my way back to Los Angeles.
“Ma’am, you cannot carry pepper spray on an airplane.”
“What? I carry it all the time on my key chain. No one has ever had an issue with it.”
“We’ll have to confiscate your pepper spray, ma’am, or you cannot board the aircraft.”
“BUT YOU CANNOT SEND ME BACK INTO LOS ANGELES COMPLETELY DEFENSELESS,” tears forming.
Staring contest ensued.
“Fine. Here’s my pepper spray. If anything happens to me it will be on your conscience.”
“Have a nice day ma’am.”
I don’t have to tell you that air travel security has changed dramatically since the attack on our country in 2001. I’ve done very little flying since that fateful day, but you can be sure no one will be getting any attitude from me at the security checkpoint.
You’ll be relieved to know that I no longer carry pepper spray. Not because I feel all that safe in this world. But because I’m quite certain that one of my children would discover it in my purse and use it on me. In the middle of Wal Mart. On a crowded Saturday.
Since I will be boarding an airplane in a few short days, I’ve checked and double checked the contents of my purse for contraband. The nail file, baby clippers, pink sparkly hand cleaner, and spare tampon will all remain at home.
I’m taking no chances. But I am concerned about starving to death on the tarmac. Evidently, peanuts are a rare commodity on domestic flights these days. So, I will be strapping protein bars and cheese sticks to my thighs.
And I’ll be praying that I don’t get frisked. And that the air conditioning on the plane is in good working order.