Jul 19, 2006
My mother, the terrorist
I brought my mother to the airport last night to head back home. Her vacation with us had come to a conclusion and it was time for her to return home. We left early because she was worried there would be a) extra security checks that might take a long time and slow things down and b) a lot of people trying to get flights out because of the security situation in the country.
My mother was right about a, but wrong about b. There were no lines of people trying to fight their way onto an overbooked flight. Granted we got there very early, but other flights were leaving and we did not see any mass of people trying to escape Israel because of Katyushas falling in the North. That was very heartening.
On concern #a she was right, I think, unless they thought she was a terrorist. They put her suitcases on the x-ray machine and decided they had to open them up. What they saw that made them concerned or suspicious I have no idea.
Digression: The machine that x-rays is pretty cool. It displays on image of the contents of the suitcase on the computer screen and the technician is able to rotate the suitcase (on the screen) and see from different angles so he can get a better idea of what he is looking at.
Back to story: They send us over to the station where they open up suitcases and there were about 10 people in the various lines waiting to be checked. They called us over right away (I do not know why we did not have to wait in line like everyone else. Maybe they were very suspicious of something and wanted to check it out right away) and the handler asked some questions. They asked a number of times if the suitcase had ever been lent out to someone else.
Finally they opened up the suitcase and rooted around looking for something specific, despite the fact that he kept saying he was “stam” looking and not for something specific. It was very unusual. Eventually he found what he was looking for and it turned out to be a Hamsa. I do not know what it looked like in the x-ray machine that made them so suspicious, but they were pretty amused when they finally found it and cleared things up.
I should add I was very impressed the whole time. The handlers were polite, calm and friendly through the whole process.
It turns out my mother is not a terrorist.