Or more precisely, a funny thing happened on the way to the airplane... going through security to be exact.
Our family of six has made this trip dozens of times. No matter how organized I think I am, the security line is never a pretty sight. Truly, you don't want to be in line behind us. In addition to our usual excessive amount of carry-on paraphernalia, this year, my husband, who would much prefer to keep money in his wallet than to take it out and spend it, declares, "We're not paying to check any bags!"
As we enter the security line, it is decided that I will be the "engine" and he will be the "caboose" to this inevitable circus-like train wreck. We line the entire length of the security conveyer belt with grey, plastic bins. Off come 12 shoes, six jackets, 12 gloves, a giant handbag, a computer bag, a camera bag, a bag with "blankies" and "lovies" and six wheeled carry-on suitcases. I send a few kids ahead so I can push the long length of items through the high-tech X-ray vision machine. As the girls lay in limbo on the other side of the security mote, the conveyer belt stops. "Someone must not have packed right," I thought. "I, for certain, have all of our correctly sized liquid containers plainly visible in quart-sized Ziploc bags." Still, the line didn't move. Finally a security guard approached me. "Is this your bag, ma'am?" he asked, pointing to a purple duffle with green and pink polka dots. "Yes," I answered. "Come with me," he said. He waited while I passed through the metal detector, put my shoes back on and grabbed my purse.
The man escorted me to a private table, putting the polka-dotted duffle on its shiny, stainless surface. The security guard looked sternly at me. "I'm going to ask you some questions," he began. "You need to answer the questions, but you may not touch the bag or the table." "OK," I responded as cooperatively as I could.
"Now, is there anything sharp or pointy that I need to be made aware of?" "No," I replied. "What's in the bag?" he asked. I thought back through the moments of chaos that always seem to precede our airport departure. "I think its the camera," I answered. "Oh, and my son's shoes." "It must be the men's size 12 rubber-soled brown loafers," I thought. Suddenly I began to doubt every word I said. What had I put in that bag? He ran a strip of ammunition-detecting paper along the inside of the bag. He seemed to have found the answer he was looking for. "I'm going to run this through the machine one more time," he said. "I'll be right back."
A few minutes later, he returned with the polka-dotted duffle and a green bag. "Here you go," he said. "You're all clear!" He handed me the duffle and a bag of Williams-Sonoma Gingerbread Quickbread Mix which I had purchased on our trip. "This was the suspicious culprit?" I asked? "This was it!" he answered. "Well, we had to have something to eat for breakfast tomorrow!" I explained, apologetically.
After we had gathered up the four kids, put on six pairs of shoes, and counted our ten bags, I told my husband the story. He looked confused. "You went through all that?" he asked. "Yes! Didn't you see me over at the inspection table?!" I asked incredulously. "No," he answered. "I just got through line!" "How could it have taken him so long?" I wondered. He looked at me sheepishly. "I forgot to take off my belt!"
Like a said - an inevitable train wreck!