Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turns out my latte is not pregnant. Whew!

So, I'm back on the road and true to form adventure and hilarity are keeping me company on what would otherwise be a very lonely trek across the United States.  I'm used to the security circus.  Enough loops through the hoops and you get the hang of the monkey dance.  Belt off, liquids appropriately sized, shoes off, hole in sock... cold, dirty floor, don't think about it... just keep moving.   I have even procured the mother of all carry-ons.  This thing is a BEAST.  Its a roller bag that converts into a back pack.  It fits under the seat, in the overhead and down the aisle and I'm pretty sure I can get at least 3 days of travel out of it...maybe more.  It has pockets for kindle, ipod, cell phone, passport, chap stick. It even has a detachable clear bag for the infamous 3oz liquids.  To describe my relationship with this bag as a love affair is an understatement.  To seal the deal... FLIGHT ATTENDANTS drool over this bag.  I. Love. This.  Bag.  So, yes, I have no qualms about zipping up to the "professional traveler" line and yes, I'm that jerk who looks at you with total disdain if you forget to take your change out of your pocket.  I am that person. All that said, I experienced a whole new level of violation and intrusion from the FAA today.

My typical routine leaves me 30 minutes for security, 10 minutes for starbucks, 5 minutes for bathroom, 5 minutes to make absolutely sure I'm in the right place and 10 minutes to breathe before getting on the plane.  This morning, my routine was perfectly executed.  I had just wrapped up my 10 minutes of breathing time and was beginning the boarding process when I was stopped by an absolutely ridiculous FAA agent wearing goggles and what looked like a chemistry set strapped to her back.  Let me tell you something.... An FAA agent who looks like she's moonlighting with the CDC is NOT something you want to see ambling toward you as you're about to board an aircraft.  This rogue lab tech approached me, pulled me out of line, and proceeded to- brace yourself- proceeded to give my triple skinny latte a pregnancy test.  Not kidding.  She whipped a little test strip out of her science kit, hovered it over my coffee, "tested the vapors" and then we waited for the results.  Fortunately, for all of us, my coffee was not pregnant.

Really, FAA?  You didn't violate me enough when I came in?  You have to continue to harass me after I have run your gambit and jumped through all of your ridiculous hoops with flawless execution?  Its bad enough that every time I go to the airport I have to leave a half of a pot of coffee on the counter and wait the dark and dreaded 30 minutes before I can throw myself at the mercy of the corporate machine and wait for them to feed my addiction; now I have to worry about not only the proverbial levels of toxicity in my cup-a-corporate but the literal levels of toxicity as well?  Can't you just hang out behind the line and test the vapors as they come out of the drip?  Lord knows, they could use an extra body back there.  

Once we determined that my latte was only harming my soul (and wallet) and was not an agent of death and destruction.  I was allowed to board the plane and am now in lovely Minneapolis.  What a great and underrated city!  Thanks to a shout out on facebook, I was directed to a truly phenomenal local brew pub and enjoyed some exceptional craft brew as well as a moderately life changing almond butternut squash bisque and the best sweet potato fries I have ever had.  I'm staying in the heart of Minneapolis right next to a tiny little coffee shop called Dunn Brother's coffee located in the basement of a stone building built in 1887.  Granted, I walked 4 blocks out of the way in the absolutely FREEZING Minnesota night air to procure this lovely Americano but in the end, I realized that the theme of today penance.  Penance for subsisting on soulless caffeine.

The good news is, I'm pretty sure I'm square with the house.  Cheers to you!