:: the fastest way through airport security ::

an apple a day

forget your first class tickets.

frequent flier miles won’t do it for you.

it’s even more effective than government clearance.

want through security quickly? take my screaming son on the trip with you.

the end of a two-week holiday odyssey in massachusetts left me on the brink of d-day.

later in the afternoon i would be traveling (solo) across the country with my over-active, under-slept, mile-a-minute, incredibly cute, sometimes-psycho and oft-times charming two (going-on-13) year old. if anyone reading has experienced something similar, i know you’ll be able to identify with some part of this story.

i won’t even go into the details of driving around for hours, pre-airport, so cole could catch a few Zs and i could find my happy place before launching into the rest of the journey. cole ate at dunkin’ donuts twice in one day and loved every minute of it (i knew he was a new englander at heart) and let’s just say that things went fairly to plan. it felt like a mini-victory. i headed into the car rental return terminal with pretty positive feeling about life in general.

pretty much status quo. some whining, some singing and one “go away daddy.” he did, however, stick with me, rolling his wonder pets back pack in front of him while i juggled my backpack, our suitcase and the car seat. the shuttle driver was pretty helpful, lashing the car seat to my rolling suitcase and even wishing me good luck, so a fist-full of bills found their way into his hand from mine. a good old-fashioned palm greasing ought to earn me a little good fortune with the travel overlords.

into the terminal and up to the luggage check (thank you pre-boarding) and no major catastrophes. trust me, these little victories are important to the ego.

while moving forward in the line, cole began his desent to the dark side. shortly after declaring he’d stay with me if i put him down, he takes off through the terminal, sending my backpack and the mini luggage tower tumbling to the ground as i take off like OJ in one of those old hertz commercials. whining and grunting i carry him back to the check in just in time for the first-class check-in guy to call me over.

gotcha! we didn’t fly first class (i wouldn’t do that to the rest of the first classers) but he had no one waiting so he called me in. cole continued to do the head dives and screams as i tried to quickly get everything checked in. apparently the car seat was of an odd shape as it took the guy twenty minutes to get it into the plastic bag he was shoving it into. he was obviously sweating as much as i was at this point, as the first-class check-in line had begun to pile up behind me. he literally thrust the boarding passes back at me with the baggage tags affixed and even manages to avoid eye contact after doing so. “have a good one buddy…” i said out of the corner of my mouth in classic new england style. apparenlty this was not the place my deity was going to smile upon me.

onto the quarter-mile long security line. as i wrestled cole and our carry-ons and walked past the first security lady, i smiled at her and said (with a genuine grin and a nod) “this might suck.” after a minute of standing there with a 30 lb fish wriggling in my arms, she taps me on the shoulder and says to me “come back this way please”, letting me through the shortcut divider to the front of the line.

many thanks to you my good woman, but i must focus my energies now. this is time when you take everything the kid holds dear away from him and promise he’ll get it back. this time it was his blanket that sent him into orbit. screams reached glass-shattering level when i had to go back through the uprights a second time after forgetting i still had my belt on. he was losing it so bad the security guard on the other side of the walk-through took my passes and immediately shoved them back into my hand without looking at them (see a trend here?). after we’d managed to gather our things and scramble off to a bench to collect ourselves, a well deserved granola bar settles the monster down for a few.

all told, i’d say it was about 8 minutes. felt like 2 months.

on further into the terminal and i’m adding one to my list of people to leave off the christmas list. the guy who puts giant stuffed animals out for kids to grab and latch onto as they board the plane should have to deal with said kids when they refuse to let go of not one, but two stuffed frogs. i mean really… come on. help a brother out will ya?

time to cash in the good karma chips. we were lucky enough to get seated next to laura, another mass/portland transplant, who on the reverse flight sat in the middle seat with two kids on one side of her and one kid on the other. apparently even cole’s physical spasms, leg thrashing and occasional fits of rage couldn’t break her. score.

of course cole wasn’t without his charms, plying her with raisins and coy smiles when not kicking her.  the stewardess (yes. i said stewardess… it’s got a bit more romance than flight attendant, don’t ya think?) was nice enough to comp a couple cocktails, so i let cole pick his fav from the pretty little rainbow of bottles in the cocktail section. tanqueray & tonic it is. and a bloody mary for my seat partner.

after four plus hours of stickers, dvds, snacks, painting (yes painting), failed snack packs, reading, squirming, jumping and turning the over head light on and off cole finally knocked off. phew… good night sweet price. the hand pretty quickly went up for another round.

all things considered, it could have been worse (like the time he lost it so bad the paramedics at the airport insisted there was something wrong with him and took him to the ER), so i guess i got off easy.

the adventure continues…