“There’s something I need to tell you,” I said to the husband whose big brown eyes had turned crazy, like crazy crazy, like those of a wild cat I once made the mistake of rescuing years ago from a neighbor’s backyard. I was just joking around, trying to make a stressful situation good again, when I laughed, because I always laugh and joke around at inappropriate moments. Not my best trait. Just a nervous thing I do.
The husband didn’t respond, he just kept walking really fast with that crazy look still in his eye.
“Say something,” I said, and then I laughed again.
He growled, “Do not say a word until we’re out of here!”
Here was Stansted Airport in London, where we flew to catch a connecting flight on Ryan Air to Venice. Here was where the very courteous, and very thorough, security staff at the airport asked, “Whose bag is this?” as they held up my bag.
I smiled and kind of did a half wave. “Mine.”
Damn, I thought to myself, still smiling, they found the Dana. I kept smiling while trying to figure out a way to explain that it was just a giant word processor, nothing more, just a big keyboard for writing. No need to be alarmed.
“Your bag has tested positive for explosives, Ma’am,” said the very polite young man with stylish spiky black hair as he pulled out just about everything in my bag. There was a lot in that bag. “We’re going to run it through a different machine. Nothing to worry about.”
If there was nothing to worry about, than why were three supervisor types now standing in front of me? And why were my things being swiped with a brush? I remember looking at the husband. The look on his face told me there was plenty to worry about.
That’s when the suspicious bag was placed very abruptly on the table in front of me and Spiky whispered something to the main supervisor guy. A small crowd had actually formed around us.
“False positive,” supervisor guy finally said, and that’s all he said, as he frantically wrote away on a clip board.
“It happens from time to time,” said Spiky with a shrug.
All I can say is thank god for the false positive. After the bag was returned, and the people milling about stopped gawking at the suspicious American terrorists, the husband’s shoulders relaxed, a bit, and we grabbed our things and headed to Pret where a delicious crawfish and mayo sandwich awaited. As we joked about what had just happened, we had no idea that that one teeny tiny bump in the road at security would fluster the most responsible person I know, causing him to kind of sort of freak out and leave the blue folder behind. It was all downhill from there. We wouldn’t realize this of course until we were 35,000 feet in the air and well on our way to Venice.
“Where’s the blue folder?” the husband asked, tearing apart the black backpack that sat on the seat between us.
“No it’s not!” he exclaimed, before exclaiming quite a few other words that I can not print here.
Which brings me to paper tickets, paper tickets that were purchased for a flight on Air One from cheaptickets.com. (And the train from Naples to Rome on Eurorail) The problem with paper tickets is you can lose paper tickets. And even though you have confirmation numbers and paperwork that states you are booked in a specific seat on a particular flight, you still need a paper ticket. And if you don’t have a paper ticket, you have to purchase new paper tickets. New tickets for the same seats. Without getting a refund on the old paper tickets for the exact same seats. Needless to say, The Husband, the man who feels every single dollar, was livid. He spent HOURS, and I mean HOURS, not walking around the magical canals of Venice with me, but on the phone with American Express (who was amazing) and someone who goes by the name of Trinity from Cheaptickets.com trying to sort the whole thing out. It wasn’t as easy to sort out as you’d think. In fact, we’re still disputing the charges. Which brings me to traveling tip #1: Go paperless.