I'm in the airport. I said goodbye to my mom and dog who dropped me off. I already miss them. I turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, but saying goodbye to family is still hard.
I'm bringing two paddles with me. My primary paddle will be will be a winged blade that is currently in four pieces in my duffel bag. My spare will be the longer of the two storm paddles I made. I can just wrap my fingers around both ends simultaneously.
A young lady stood behind the check-in counter. “Are you going to check that?” she asked.
“Do I have to? I'd really like to take it as carry on.”
She checked with the boss. “Yes, you have to, because it can be used as a weapon.”
I convinced her to let me take the paddle on board. Two hours into the flight I stood up and called out, “All right, if you all listen to me, no one has to get paddled. We're going to Turkmenistan.” I don't know where that is. Back at the check in …
“Okay, I guess there's nothing you can do about that. It's delicate, can we put a sticker on it?”
She said “We don't have any 'Fragile' stickers.” She did pull out a tag from behind the counter and checked a tiny box on it that said “fragile”. "Sign here please.”
The box she checked saying my paddle was fragile was small enough so that no one could be expected to read it. In smaller print, the text next to the box declared that I exempted Norwegian from any responsibility should anything happen to my paddle on account of it being “for the reason stated above”. I referred back to the box that was checked “fragile”.
“Why?” I asked inquisitively “would I want to exempt you from responsibility?”
“Because it's fragile.” She told me..
“It's not fragile.” I insisted. “I cut this thing from a two by four. It needs to withstand the rigors of the sea. It had better not be fragile.”
She checked with her her boss. Okay, I didn't have to sign. Then my paddle left me for the belly of the plane and I could only hope the fragile peace of wood would make the journey safely.
I went through security and refused the naked body scan. I got patted down. The fellow who was doing the patting explained to me how he was going to be searching my privates with the back of his hand.
“Okay.” I told him. “But don't blame me if you notice I'm enjoying it.” Wait, no, that's not what I said. I said “This is probably karma. I used to pat down hundreds of people myself every day.” I hoped that if he could relate to me as a fellow patter, maybe he would spare me the back of his hand.
I went to buy a book. I couldn't find one in a large magazine candy store. Lots of magazines, lots of candy, no books. I the second terminal, I found a bookshelf, searched through the latest pop reads and found something about a woman who went insane in three days, then wrote about it.
“Seventeen sixty!? No thank you. I'll put it back.”
So I won't have a book with me because I didn't think to bring one and I won't pay $17.60. Until my computer battery runs out I can entertain myself by writing.