The parking shuttle spared our lives and we made it to LAX International check-in, expecting to fly through the process, seeing as how we had just wracked up so much good airport karma from not rioting against the bucking bus. But no, there was a seemingly endless line of weary travelers who had organized themselves, and their conglomeration of stuff, in between the moveable rollout partitions mischievous children love to move, when their frazzled parents are looking elsewhere.
I shuddered thinking of our group of eight (a baby counts as two people,) and our baggage of eighteen (the lumbering surfboard bag counts as five hunks of luggage,) maneuvering through those tight turns. My mother, an inspired genius sent from above, noticed an official looking lady sending a family to the gloriously empty line to her right, which I naturally assumed was reserved for people who had shelled out twice the amount for their ticket to have the luxury of fast lines, a jumbo seat, and a free glass of champagne; at that moment I could see their logic. My mom nudged her slim figure through the masses of confused travelers and inquired as to why that family got to go in that line?
Official Lady: “Well ma’am, they checked in online.”
Mom: “What?! We checked in online! We get to bypass that line for this line?!”
My mind did the happy dance my external body was too wiped-out to perform.
This bit of good karma was not the bad bus’ doing, no, I had stayed up until 2am the night before, with two computers simultaneously logged in to our airline’s website so I could frantically try to wrangle us a gaggle of seats together, our flock had to stick together. My early morning, bleary-eyed stay-up had paid off and we were flying in the fast lane, or at least lugging our mountain of stuff through a much shorter line. Why hadn’t all those people in that line embraced the power of the invisible forces of the Internet and checked in ahead of time?
We pulled to the front and started pulling out our heaps of travel paperwork we had spent the last few weeks frantically compiling; expedited passports, original copies of birth certificates, notarized parental permission forms, death certificates, pleas of insanity, and more. The only thing the silently efficient man looked at was the passports, and our credit card to charge for the board bag of course. “But, what about the tree that had to die to supply all these other documents?! At least look at them.” Nope, Murphy’s Law at it again.
We got the boarding passes, carted the checked bags over to the piles of other checked bags, and made our way to security. My premature sense of ease should have been my signal I was bound for impending doom.
We arrived at the front of the security line and the uniform wearing woman was nice, she was actually nice, and she smiled. “Where am I?!” We passed Go, and started to pull our electronics out of our bags, remove our shoes from our feet, and attempt to wiggle out of the underwire containing bra I was afraid would set off the alarms. As the normally stern faced officials cooed at my thankfully smiling baby, I breezed through the metal detector. “Now we’ve made it.” But no, I was then escorted over to the Level Two security check, that I was certain was just a random “lottery.”
Security Guard: “Ma’am do you have weapons in this bag.”
Me: “Only some baby nail clippers.” (Yes, I actually said that, no, he was not amused.)
I continued to watch him weed through my meticulously packed bag, certain the most scintillating item he would find was a liquid-less breast pump. His hand then slid over a back pocket I had ceased to notice while packing. This was not my backpack, this was the back pack Eric usually took camping; I was not familiar enough with this backpack, not at all. The security guard swiped his hand through the “hidden” pocket and pulled out a pocketknife. A knife, there was a knife in my carry on. A knife. He held it out and just looked at me.
Yours Truly at Warp Speed: “It’s his bag, that guy over there, yes we’re together and it’s technically my bag today, but he usually takes this bag camping, and just went camping last weekend and he must have put it in the bag to take camping because he uses the can opener in the pocket knife to open cans, and beers, wait no, he doesn’t drink beers, and I had no idea it was there. I swear I checked the bag and I had no idea the knife was in there, no idea. I have a baby, so I’m always so distracted. Did I say I have a baby? I do, he’s right here, isn’t he cute? I’m so sorry; I promise I had no idea. Did I say I’m sorry? So sorry?”
Internal Dialogue: “Please don’t arrest me and take my baby, please don’t arrest me and take my baby, please don’t arrest me and take my baby.”
Security Guard: “Ma’am, we can either throw it away, or you can go back to checked baggage, check it, and re-enter the security line.”
Me: “You can throw it away, thank you.”
Internal Dialogue: “What?! I’m not going to be arrested for attempted international espionage. My baby isn’t going to be turned over to the government?” (Enter biggest sigh of relief that has ever left my mouth.)
When I recounted my harrowing tale to Eric, after we were far and away from security, he said, “What? You let them throw my pocket knife away?”
Yes, that was his response, really it was.
We made it to the gate without any more brushes with the law and had to wait an un-painful amount of time before they made the call for passengers with babies to pre-board. ‘What? I didn’t even know they did that anymore. I thought courtesy to the tuckered out souls traveling with ‘heavy non-speaking boob suckers’ was a thing of the past?’
It took some time, and some “baby coming through” name dropping, but we were able to squeeze through the masses of the child-less Tom, Dick, Harry, (and their significant others,) piled in line, making it near impossible for us with child and with piles of bulky baby bags peeps to pass.
By the grace of the Greek God Atlas, we made it to our seats unscathed, and Hudson promptly decided to get pissed, likely because he prophesized that he was about to be trapped in a confined space for 8 straight hours. When I was able to refocus his gaze on to the full-mom-boobs by his face, he was quickly consoled.
Hudson began to nurse, and I immediately yearned for water. I had purposely dehydrated myself before the flight so I would not be stuck in the torturous position of holding a ‘thank God he’s sleeping’ baby, and having an ‘I’m about to wet myself’ full bladder. As soon as we took off Hudson effortlessly fell into a milky real sleep, while I crawled my way into a less than ideal dehydrated, kind of sleep; but it was much better than wrestling with an abnormally strong baby in a tiny seat for eight hours.
Part one of flight one passed fairly quickly and we descended into the lush hills of Guatemala. We didn’t have to deplane, but we did have to spend an hour listening to a chronic cuss-er, as a fresh load of passengers were ushered on to the plane.
Chronic Cuss-er: “You should have f***in been there that one f***in time I did that totally f***In awesome thing. You f***in remember dude, I know you f***in remember, I’m so f***in dope.”
He was cool, and so were his huge gold-rimmed sunglasses and ‘fad-tabulous’ headphones. The eventual sound of the plane drowned out his stream of consciousness cussing.
Oh yeah, Hudson slept through Guatemala and was stuck in slumber until we landed in San Jose, Costa Rica. Verbal happy dance!