It is only fitting that my 50th post is the beginning of the account how my life has dramatically changed. I made it back from Jamaica with my life and wife intact. Jeff, a married man - never thought it would happen. Don't ask me how it is because I still have no clue. It is just different - surreal.
The trip had a rocky start, however. I hadn't flown since before 9/11 and I hadn't really wanted to. I understand all too well why that is. It is horrid.
I was randomly picked out to be run through the ringer. If you ever receive your boarding pass and get "SSSSSSSS" written on it, be prepared to go through an ordeal. In St. Louis, this happened to me. I was whisked away like a criminal to the "we have ways to make you talk" line of security. Once I was interrogated there and was able to join the rest of the group on the other side of the security, I thought the worst was over. I was wrong.
While trying to board the plane, the gate agent saw my "SSSSS's" and again called for security. "I already went through that mess," I pleaded.
"I am sorry, sir, but no one stamped your pass." After about five minutes, a security guard whom I already had a nice discussion with came down to the gate adorned with the obligatory and creepy rubber gloves. He said, "You? I already saw that you were okay. What's the deal?"
"No one stamped my pass," I replied in a hopeful tone.
"Sorry, I still have to check you."
So again I was searched and my bag was emptied. When he finished, I asked if he would stamp my pass to avoid any furthere confusion.
"Not necessary. I am right here at the gate." He was wrong. They had to call him back to initial my pass. So I left St. Louis with my fiancee and my abused carry-on with my nerves frayed and my panties wadded.
(to be continued)