Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Offending the potato sensibilities of Idaho

After I made the last bland post about "what we did last weekend" I remembered a story that I was meaning to relate to you but had forgotten about. So you get the BONUS FEATURE of two posts in one day.

So, as I mentioned below, one of the activities on our radar this weekend was celebrating the birthday of a close friend of mine. I wanted to find her the perfect birthday present, and, of course, she's kind of a notoriously hard person to shop for. Eventually I came up with something that I was pleased with, but then wanted to top the gift off with a little humor. And, as we now live in Idaho, I decided that a potato-theme was absolutely in order. I'd wanted to buy her a beautiful russet, tie a red ribbon around it and include it in her package, but as Friday afternoon ticked on, I ran out of time to swing by the grocery store to pick one up.

All we had at home was a bag of little red potatoes.

Creativity kicked into high gear, and I found a length of ribbon, a big needle, and strung three of the red potatoes onto the ribbon for, voila! a quick, home-made potato necklace. I stuffed it into the bag with her other gift (glassware, so I'd stashed it in my carry-on for safe travels).

Charlie and I arrived at the airport in perfect time. I took off anything metal, and we went through the security line. I have to say, for such a small airport, they sure were surly on Friday. The TSA women snapped at both of us, chastised us for heading in the wrong direction after the metal detector, and snapped at us for handing them more papers than just our boarding passes. It just seemed an extension of this hospitality when they stopped the conveyor belt to take a closer look at my bag.

There was much nodding and consulting behind the x-ray machine, and then finally one of the uniformed women stepped out, asked, "Is this your bag?" and told me she needed to take a look inside. She scooped up my bin, and led me down to the examination table. Kindly enough, once we reached the table she allowed me to put my shoes on before she started going through things. GEE, THANKS.

Her first question, "Do you have anything sharp in your bag?"

I replied that it was my work bag, and that while I didn't think I did, it was possible that there might be something I'd forgotten? (The whole time I was thinking of my old boss who'd forgotten that she had a giant steak knife in her work bag and then tried to go through airport security--didn't go over so well, but we had a good laugh over it.)

She opened up my bag and went immediately for Celeste's present. I didn't make a peep. First thing she gets to, of course, is the potato necklace. Three red potatoes strung onto a white satiny ribbon. She stops. Looks at me. Looks at the potatoes. Looks at me again. And, with no smile, question, or even hint of amusement, shakes her head disgustedly (with one skeptical eyebrow arched), and asks again, "Do you have anything sharp in there?" This time, her tone was annoyed.

I shook my head.

"Just go ahead."

"Thank you!"

Anyhow, I guess you can just call me "the Potato Bomber" from here on out.

I considered telling her it was a low-fat version of a candy necklace. Something for me to snack on during the plane ride if I got hungry.

Probably wouldn't have thought that was funny, either, though.

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