October 3, 2005


I'm home now, and anxious to tell you stories of Michigan, Chicago, Bonne Marie and Rams...but filled with a burning need to tell you the start of the trip.

As I sat on the plane leaving for Chicago, I pulled my knitting from my bag, (a sock) and took out my i-shuffle and my water and began to organize myself. As I did so, a gentleman near me stared intently at my knitting needles.
"Hello", I said, smiling...lots of people ask me about my knitting. I thought for sure that's where this was headed.
"Are those metal?" he asked, gesturing at my 2mm needles.
"Yup" I said. (Should have thought that through. Why would a muggle care what my needles are made of? Hindsight being what it is...this should have been the first tip-off that we were headed for trouble.)
"I'm uncomfortable with those" he says.
"What, the knitting needles?" I answer. "They're allowed items." and I smiled again. I'm sure that I don't have to tell you how far this friendly, gentle sort of straightening out goes 99% of the time.
Not today. Today the gentleman looks at me and says:
"Yes. The needles. You know..." he says to me, clearly feeling a need to elaborate, since I am starting to look at him with confusion...
"for terrorist reasons."

Now, it's possible that the look of shock on my face might have alarmed him. Perhaps it was the way that I choked on my water or stared at him with an incredulous look...but in any event, he obviously decided that I needed dealing with on a deeper level, since he pushed the call bell for the flight attendant.
She came right over and when "Cathy" arrived (name changed to protect the less than sparkling intellect of the participants) he gestured at me and my needles (which I was using for their intended purpose, thinking that this might alleviate some of the rampaging concern.) and waited for her to take action.

I waited too. This weenie was one thing, but flight attendants are another. They are highly trained professionals, smart cookies. Women and men of intelligence and substance. That's why I was absolutely stunned when the flight attendant said something so stupid that the mind reeled.

"They let you through security with those?

Holy crap. Let's think that through, shall we? Imagine the two possible answers to this question, and let's decide what the most likely possibility is, shall we? Either:

A) Yes. They did. I passed through e-ray, I put my stuff on the belt, took off my shoes and I was screened the same exact way as every other human in this airport, and not only did they see these knitting needles on the screen, and allow me in with them, but they didn't say squat about the two pairs of 14" aluminum straights in my bag and the back-up set of dpns either. Like just about every other time I have flown, all they said to me upon seeing the whack of knitting needles strewn about my carry-on was... "Have a nice flight." or the very occasional "My mum used to knit socks too."


B) No. No "Cathy", security did NOT allow me through with these knitting needles. I had them "positioned" on my person and when I passed through the x-ray machine I told them it was a steel plate I have from the war. When they looked suspicious and snapped their latex gloves, I ran. I sprinted past the desk, abandoning my things in the search machine (having strategically removed all identifying materials ahead of time) and streaked through the airport, hiding briefly in a Starbucks to elude Homeland Security, then slunk through the back corridors of the airport, stepping in every puddle I could find avoid leaving a scent for the tracking dogs to use. I backtracked, made only left turns and briefly rappelled until I made it all the way to the gate where I used a counterfeit passport to sneak onto the plane, positioned myself next to some weenie and proceeded to celebrate that I..having certainly secured myself 15 years in prison, if not a violent shooting death upon the arrival of the aircraft, assuming of couse that I was not taken out by an Air Marshall long, long before we arrived....was able to ...at long last......KNIT A (*&^%$#@!!!ing SOCK on a plane.
What do you think Cathy? What do you think Eh?

I thought better of either of these answers (the temptation was magnificent and sparkling) and instead I said. Yes. They allowed me on with these. They saw them. They didn't mind. Yes.
"Cathy" looked at me then and said...."Ok. I'm sure it's ok. If they said so....." and smiled rather disarmingly at the weenie, who did not seem disarmed and proceeded to tell us how he felt, naturally, that I was not a terrorist, but that the needles could (and I quote the weenie here) "be used against" me.
I stared at him for a minute, then finished my round and Cathy if I could be reseated. She did so..after asking the passengers in the new seats if they minded a knitter nearby, but not before I had taken a very sneaky no-flash picture of the weenie's feet to post here on the blog.


That'll teach him. (It was the only revenge I could think of.)

Posted by Stephanie at October 3, 2005 1:48 PM