Pack Me in Your Suitcase: In-security

| Senior Scene Editor

Airport security is one of those terrible yet necessary parts of life that everyone loves to hate.  Everyone worries about getting through the lines, being the random person selected for a special screening and forgetting to throw out their water bottles. Whether a person is traveling abroad or traveling domestically, security is the inevitable beginning of every flight-based vacation.

This summer, airport security proved to be even more interesting than normal. I had relatively major shoulder surgery about three weeks before I was supposed to hike, raft, climb, etc. through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Needless to say, the quarter circle pillow encircling my waist put a bit of a damper on my vacation plans, especially when what was supposed to be a three-week recovery turned into a six-week ordeal. Nonetheless, I decided to continue on my trip and make the best of it. It never crossed my mind that the hardest part about recovering from surgery would be making it through the airport security.

In O’Hare airport, I patiently waited in a half hour line to walk through one of eight security hubs. Considering it was O’Hare, not so bad. I placed my purse on the conveyor belt and walked up to the line. I barely fit through the door, since my pillow was sticking out about a foot and a half in front of me.

“Should I take the pillow off? Run it through the X-ray machine?”

“No!” the security guards replied. They exchanged confused glances.

“We wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself in any way.”  Oh boy.

I walked through the security booth quite soundly. No beeps. But then I was attacked. The male security guard blockaded me into the inspection area.  The female security guard pounced on my pillow, squishing and squeezing and altogether misshaping what was supposed to guard my shoulder. It failed.

After confirming all that my pillow contained was indeed stuffing, I thought I could board the plane. Not so! Again, the male security guard—who was at least twice my size and a foot and a half over my head­­—stepped in front of me. He gave me a very intimidating look and I cowered in the corner.

“Hold out your hands.” What? My good hand went forward. That wasn’t enough. The female security guard took my bad hand and ran over it with a cloth. Then she swabbed my good hand.  I was very confused.  Apparently, my hands were being checked for some kind of residue. While one hand was still pinned by my side. Right.

As I and my surgical devices were being thoroughly inspected, my mother was going through security. With her make-up bag. Which contained liquid makeup and many other assorted containers.

I took off my sling on the way back home. Apparently, having surgery makes you look suspicious. Who knew?