I write here about a revealing incident. Sherri and I drove Hannah to the airport, to fly back East to visit relatives for eight days. (Uncle Seth, Aunt Kazzie and their children Zeke and Sarah; then Uncle Dan and Aunt Susan.) Sherri dropped me and Hannah off; I went with Hannah; the plan was for me to get a gate pass and accompany her to the plane; then come out and get picked up by Sherri. We did this before, and it sort of worked.
We got me a gate pass. While walking to the checkpoint, I reacted to security theater with mockery, as usual. Hannah agreed, and noted that once Sherri had to give up some contact lens solution. I said, “Water is officially an explosive.” Hannah laughed and said, “I can’t take you anywhere!” “Absolutely not,” I agreed. Then it hit me. “My swiss army knife!”
We ran into trouble with that on a previous airport visit. I keep a swiss army knife in my backpack; a useful tool; but airports are paranoid. I tried to go through, but they said they’d confiscate the knife. I pulled back, fuming; Sherri drove by to pick up the knife, I proceeded. Not a process to repeat!
So what to do? Hannah and I agreed that I had to hide it somewhere. So as she wheeled her pack towards the security gate, I kept an eye out for hiding places. Small volumes, out of sight, beneath or behind. I found a recycling bin, approached it, glanced behind it, dropped the knife there, and proceeded towards the security gate.
There we removed our shoes like good Moslems. Our luggage got X-rayed and we went through a metal detector. It was one of those booths where you’re supposed to raise your hands in surrender, which is what the word ‘Islam’ means; I raised my hands in a shrug.
We went to the gate, Hannah left her luggage at the counter for last-minute luggage check-in, and then boarded right away. Surprisingly efficient. I left the gate, went out to the main hall, found the recycling bin, looked behind, there was my knife. I picked it up and went out to get picked up by Sherri, no hassle.
I see in that knife a symbol. Their stupid rules turned it into a problem; I couldn’t efficiently manage it within their clueless authoritarian system; so to get things done, I had to cheat. I had to smuggle my knife out of the terminal. This proved easy to do, for “the invisible hand is quicker than the all-seeing eye” (as I said in my Underfable, “The Magic of the Marketplace”).
When the rules are stupid, it’s stupid to follow the rules. That airport taught me how to remove my shoes like a good Moslem, but also how to see like a smuggler.