Tuesday, March 11, 2014


This week finds me in airports in Atlanta, Washington DC, Charlotte, and Dayton. By Friday, it will be a blur of angry parents and sock footed elderly people trudging around the various security installations through which I'll have passed.

This afternoon, I was able to catch an early flight from Charlotte to DC, so I jumped into the "TSA Pre" line to bypass security in hopes of making my flight. I had my carry-on suitcase with me, containing two suits, an extra pair of shoes, and all of my toiletries. Needless to say, it was stuffed to capacity. I threw my bag on the conveyor, passed through the metal detector, and all was looking good, until I saw two TSA agents carefully eyeing something on the X-ray screen in my bag. I immediately knew what it was -- a full sized bottle of contact lens solution.

Recently I've switched to using a hydrogen peroxide solution to soak my lenses, and since I've passed through security without issue with multi-purpose bottles of contact solution, I didn't think the new cleaner would be an issue. "Is this your bag sir?" "Yep." "Mind if I open it to search it?" the TSA agent inquired. "Nope." As she began to unzip the bag, I blurted out, "Oh be careful...when you unzip it it will explode."

Not good. She immediately hopped two feet back from the bag, and as she looked ready to draw her non-existent weapon on me, I said, "Oh...no. I'm sorry. Terrible choice of words. The bag is really full so it may, uh, expand dramatically as you open it."

Having narrowly escaped cavity search #1, she pulled out the solution and said, "I'll need to test this." As she sprayed the hydrogen peroxide on her "shoe bomber detection science kit" test strip, it turned a bright blue. She again gasped and drew away from me. She started yelling "I NEED A SUPERIOR. NOW!" Luckily her superior was calm about the whole thing and informed me that while normal saline solutions are permitted, the hydrogen peroxide is not, unless you have it in a Smurf sized container. No sweat.

As I walked away from security, I could feel the screener's eyes examining my shoes, jacket, etc. making sure she hadn't missed anything. The only thing she probably couldn't catch would have been my belt buckle, as even I can't see it at the moment.