Monday, March 27, 2006

Umm....whoops

Well, theres a first time for everything. Despite all of my past legal indiscretions I've never been arrested. I've been face to face with cops quite a few times, even mounties. (If you consider mounties cops that is. Their horses are surprisingly fast). But I'd never been hauled off to jail, I've never been handcuffed, never been fingerprinted..until now that is.

It's funny, the US is so anal about what you bring into the country but they don't seem to care what you take out. So there i am going through security in Detroit. Two perfectly legal radar detectors packed into my carry on. You see folks i had a dilemma right from the start. Do i check them, or do i carry them on. Knowing the security at the airport, i thought it highly likely that one or both would disappear somewhere on my luggage's 6000 mile journey. But if i carried them on, i knew that my bags would be x rayed at least once. In the end, i decided to carry them on. I just dropped over 500 bucks on radar detectors and i didn't want a chance on them getting stolen. I mean worst comes to worse i could always bribe a customer agent.

Back to the story....so there i am in line at Detroit. I approach the x ray machines with some caution toting my contraband safely hidden in my backpack.

“Laptop sir?” Says the guard.

“Yes” i reply.

“Any metal on you?”

“No”, i reply.

“Any metal in your shoes?”, she continues. How many times does she say this per day i wonder.

“No”, i reply. No bombs either i think to myself.

With some hesitation, i place my back pack on the conveyor belt and watch it disappear into the black hole otherwise known as Mr X ray. I hold my breath and continue on through the bomb sniffing machine (what a strange machine that is) and the metal detector. I exit the other side with no beeps declaring i need to be searched. Alles Klar.

From the safe side, acting of course as if i have no particular interest in whether my bag makes it thorough...i wait. And wait.

“Sir we need to rerun this at a different angle.”

“Sure, no problem”. Don't look too close...don't look to close....doesn't that other guy behind me look like Osama Bin Laden i think?

Then without further incident my bag reappears and i quickly gather my things and head for the bar. This calls for a drink! Off to Applebee's for some nachos and a beer. Then off to the gate and onto the plane for my seven and a half hour journey across the big pond. I won't lie, i may have enjoyed a few more beverages on the plane too.

If that were the end, then that would be a boring story. But sadly, that wasn't the end.

Paris, Sunday morning. Worse friggin airport ever designed my man. Or maybe it was designed by a woman..ha!

Exit the plane...a bit tired, a bit drunk, ready to deal with the French. For some reason it was decided that all passengers needed to re-clear security. What's this? This wasn't required last time? Did they catch wind of my new toys on the plane somehow?

Once again, i approach the security lines with reservation. Although it's 8AM, it feels like 1AM to me and I'm in no mood to deal with some jackass security agent.

“Excuse moi...sir...you are next!” Projects the snotty Frenchman.

I move forward without a sound. Trying to blend in with the crowd.

“Laptop?” He squeels

“Yes” I reply

Off comes my coat, out comes my wallet, change, and laptop to once again travel through the best safety tool the world can come up with..the x ray machine.

“Next” He says

I approach the metal detector and shuffle through. No beeps...step 1, done. Then my heart sinks.

“Sir, we're going to need to check your bag” says guard number two. An equally French looking and French sounding Frenchman. Why don't you go home and riot some more you wanker.

“Sir, whats this?” He inquires.

Laser gun...hard drive....guitar tuner...my mind races.

“A radar detector” i reply.

“A radar detector?!” He barks, with emphasis on the second a in radar.

“Yes sir”

“Do you know these are illegal here in France?” He smiles as he asks.

“No sir, i didn't. But I'm going on to Z├╝rich, here's my boarding pass.”

I hate you. I hate you.

“But you're in France now. And you have two of these, are you planning on selling them?” Must be a slow morning, he is enjoying this way too much.

“No, one is for me, one is a gift” i lied. I must be projecting hate like a heat lamp.

“Well I'm sorry sir, but you cant continue to travel with these”.

“But I'm not staying in France, I'm not even leaving the airport” I reply, moving closer.

“As i said sir, it doesn't matter. You are in France now, and i can't let you travel with these.” The crowd must be loving this. I wish i had an Uzi. Just kidding. No I'm not.

“Well, they are mine. If I can't travel with them then either pay me for them or mail them back to me in the states”. I demand.

“I'm sorry sir, I'm not authorized to do that”. He takes a step towards me. The gap is now the distance over the conveyor belt. The other guards are taking interest now too.

“Well I'm not leaving without them, or without you compensating me for them. You can't just take them, that's theft. Nowhere does it state that i can't bring them into the country” I yell, now pointing.

Well, you can imagine what happened next. My finger had just started pointing at him, inches from his face, when he grabbed my arm and pulled the universal cop move, twist and down. I was face down on the conveyor belt watching bags slowly moving towards my face at 1 mile per hour.

“Sir, you're under arrest.”

“Wait...how about 100 bucks!” i pleaded...

Now that's what i call a sticky situation..... And their we'll pause like a commercial break in a Dukes of Hazard episode.

I'm just kidding, i made all that up. The truth is i got in and out of the country with no problems, radar detectors in hand. Well, I'd already seen the movies on the plane which sucked, but that was the worst part of the week. Truth is i had a very long, somewhat fun trip to the states. Work was, well, work. But over the course of the week i got to see some friends and catch up, i even met up with my cousin Dan and his girlfriend Jess in Indy. I had some Thai food at my favorite place, went to Hooters one night, i even managed to get in a little American TV. The Simpson's just aren't the same dubbed in German. I'd missed quite allot over the last 5 months but that's life. Everybody was doing well and had some great stories to tell. The 'rents are in town Wednesday and we're off to Munich for a long weekend. Munich is where they have the big Oktoberfest tents..but it's March new. Why are we going again?