I’ve imagined the airport scenario thousands of times. Strategically, I try to consider anything that can possibly go wrong in order to be fully prepared if it does. Usually in my head, a panic attack is involved. Oxygen reaching my lungs only through a brown paper bag provided by a flight attendant. Or perhaps making awkward eye contact with the stranger next to me when I repeatedly grab his or her hand every time we experience turbulence. I gave a lot of thought to crises that could ensue on the plane. I failed to consider, however, the process leading up to the plane. For example, being pulled into a private room at security with a state trooper after being repeatedly patted down and questioned by airport officials and state police. This all took place before I almost got arrested. I went from almost-Londoner to being almost-detained as a suspect criminal faster than you can say ninja.
Yes, things got off to a great start.
Consider the following image.
This is a throwing star. It’s sort of like a four-sided dagger designed for training ninjas. They are literally made for hurting people. Not to mention, illegal to have in the United States. This is what was laying in the bottom of my bag as I made my way through international security.
I’d like to stop and take a moment and give a shout-out to my brother. Your ninja fascination and impulse-purchase habits almost landed me in jail. So thx. #Grateful 4 you.
“So, are you training to be an American ninja?” (The security guard trying to be funny)
“No sir.” (Me trying not to cry)
They proceeded to pat me down and question me and then call the state police. Protocol, you know. Meanwhile, my poor parents were standing at the edge of security with not an inkling as to what was going on. I was told to put my phone away and had no way of communicating with them besides very desperate eye contact.
As it turns out, my brother bought this throwing star from a friend in high school who was selling them. He “thought it would be cool to have one.” While he has no idea how it ended up in my backpack, and hasn’t seen it “for years,” I am skeptical and remain insistent on obtaining his alibi for the 24 hours preceding the incident. However, it is likely that this weapon has been laying in my backpack for months, if not years.
“Are you aware that possessing this item alone is an arrestable offense in itself?” …This was quite a lovely introduction to my nice conversation with the policeman. It was really an enjoyable exchange. When my background check was clear, the circle of security guards and policeman around me started to lighten up. I’d also like to think I don’t look like the type of person who would be carrying a quadruple dagger ninja-thing. Zoom to close-up on the three triangles on my backpack. Although now that I think about it, ninja sorority girl would be pretty badass. Basic Starbucks loving sister by day, kung fu warrior by night.
After a series of questioning, patting, and paperwork, the cop told me he would flip a coin. Heads, I get arrested. Tails, he lets me go. He threw the coin up, and before he could catch it, told me to get out of here. I happily grabbed my carry-on and fled the scene of the crime.
Anyway, I’m sitting on the plane now, and while I imagined this moment in my head to be happy but horrifying, I am feeling nothing but excitement. Every ounce of me is filled with joy, not fear, and that’s an incredible and liberating sensation. I’ve got the whole row of seats to myself, and they even left a pillow and blanket on the seat. British Airways = MVP.
And on that note, I’m gonna go take a very, very large sleeping pill. Also, wine is free on this flight. Just thought that was important to note.
Cheers (grateful to not be in jail),