We had to fly from Istanbul to some place called Goeme in order to pick up our rental car. That means going through airport security, of course. Your intrepid traveller has a bad track record when it comes to authority in general, and customs security in particular.
Contrary to popular belief I did have hair at one time. It was long and curly and its sometimes unkempt appearance blended well with the painters’ pants and overalls that I favoured in the mid- 1970s. As Grampa Simpson would say, “It was the style at the time.”
It was also my style at the time to do a lot of cross-border travel. Many of my Bishop’s University friends came from New York and New England, leading to some summertime visits when I was able to wangle a long weekend off from my landscaping jobs. I was an Arts student and on the forms that I inevitably had to fill out in my early twenties I described myself as “an itinerant labourer and down-at- the-heels philosopher.” That line always made me chuckle, but it didn’t seem to get the same reaction from some of the Customs officers of my acquaintance. I’ve been hauled off more than a few Greyhound and Voyageur buses when stopped at the U.S. border, who even in those days employed many security zealots who would have fit in very comfortably at East Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie. After going through my bag and even my wallet, and realizing that the most subversive activity that I was guilty of was watching ‘Saturday Night Live’ I would be ‘released’, and allowed back on the bus. As I was walked down the aisle I would be eyed warily by the less suspicious travellers, who must have imagined that at the very least they were travelling with a former member of the Chicago 7. I never had the same problem after I acquired the burden of a wife and family. Growing older is not without its advantages.
Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose. Whether it be buses or airplanes I am still an absent-minded disaster waiting to happen. This time I had forgotten that I had packed a pair of scissors in my carry-on bag. Once again I was staring into the unblinking eyes of yet another security Nazi.
The airport official held out his hand as I guiltily handed over my weapon of mass destruction. Good thing I don’t have to use shampoo very often anymore. All the other passengers seemed to take it in stride as the terrorist was tamed and allowed to rejoin the line. With one exception.
Did I also mention that my track record for peaceful co-existence with my better half can be as short-lived and tumultuous as my relationship with Customs officials ? There’s not much we enjoy more than keeping ourselves mentally sharp with a round or two of what we consider as quick-witted repartee. For the next few minutes Brenda held a clear advantage as she tore strips off of your luckless hero. I quietly absorbed my lashing as I plotted my revenge. Just because I always won attendance prizes for Sunday school doesn’t mean I learned anything. Turning the other cheek may have worked for Jesus but he hadn’t been married for twenty seven years.
My chance for revenge would come after we picked up our car in Goeme.