Clean Water, Not Dirty Bombs

, , , , , , | Right | January 19, 2020

Some classmates and I were on a month-long expedition through northern Argentina. Prior to our journey, we were equipped with iodine to purify our drinking water from taps and streams, which came in dropper bottles. We were in the Buenos Aires airport ready to go back home to see our families.

After successfully going through airport security, we filled our Nalgenes with water from the restroom tap, gathered in the boarding area, and began passing around the iodine to drop into our bottles.

Not ten minutes later, airport security evacuated everyone from the gate to go through the checkpoint they had just set up again. We had to dump out our freshly-purified water.

After going through the checkpoint again, we realized why they might have set up additional security. Thirteen foreigners suspiciously putting unknown chemicals into water bottles doesn’t look good. We brought the iodine into the bathroom for the next round of purification, which still looked odd to the bystander, but was a little more discreet.

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Hell’s Opening

, , , , | Right | January 16, 2020

(I am working for security at a college football game, and part of my job is to make sure that all drinks brought into the game are unopened. This event occurs between me and an older man.)

Me: “Is that water opened?”

Man: “No”

Me: “Okay!” *steps aside to let him pass*

Man: *steps close to me* “How do you know I’m not lying?”

Me: *trying to think of a response*

Man: “I’d go to Hell, then, wouldn’t I?” *slowly walks away*

Me: *speechless*

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Pat Down Flare-Ups

, , , , | Working | January 8, 2020

(My family always jokes with me about how I’m pulled over every single time I go through airport security. In the past, this has been for completely understandable things, usually because I am very forgetful and accidentally leave a bunch of batteries or my multitool in my carry-on. This time, however, I make absolutely sure to make my luggage as TSA-friendly as possible. As I’m going through the full-body scanner, it flags the metal clasps on the drawstring of my shorts. Naturally, this shows that the “contraband” is right next to my privates. I am pulled aside for a pat-down.)

TSA Agent #1: “Would you like a private pat-down?”

Me: “It’s four in the morning. Please just get it over with.”

(I know that was incredibly rude, but thankfully, the agent finds it funny. I am patted down and then let go, but my luggage is being searched. I don’t know what they think is in there, but after a couple of minutes of rifling through it, they hand it back to me without comment. I always get to the airport early but this delay leaves me barely enough time to get to my gate. Thankfully, I arrive at my destination and have a great trip. While I’m on vacation, I stock up on items for Christmas gifts, mostly spices that are not available in my home state. On the way through security, my bag is pulled aside.)

TSA Agent #2: “Ma’am, is this your bag?”

Me: “Yes?”

TSA Agent #2: *opening my suitcase* “Is there anything fragile or sharp that could harm me in here?”

Me: “Just a candle. And maybe those granite coasters.”

(I point out the items and he unwraps them carefully, as if handling a bomb. While he’s doing that, another agent comes over to pat me down.)

TSA Agent #3: “Would you like a private search?”

Me: “No, thank you.”

(She searches me, including reaching into the waistband of my shorts and under my breasts. I just stand there and bear it because I want this whole ordeal to be over with already. While she’s searching me, the other agent is picking through my bag. He’s picking out various handmade souvenirs and spices I bought at the local city market, which is known to be popular with tourists.)

TSA Agent #2: “Okay, ma’am, I’m going to have to do a full search. It looks like there are chemicals on the outside of this strawberry lemonade mix that correspond with chemicals commonly found in explosives.”

(I have no idea how that is possible, but it’s not like there’s anything I can do about it, so once my pat-down is finished and I’m good to go I sit down next to the desk to wait. The agent is now talking into a cell phone and describing a bag of coconut sugar I bought at a local spice store.)

TSA Agent #2: “It says sugar on the outside of the bag. The consistency is like sugar, but it has some clumps. I’m squeezing the clumps now… okay, the clumps are breaking similar to sugar. The crystals definitely bear a resemblance. The color is white… not bleach white, more like…”

Me: “Eggshell?”

TSA Agent #2: “Yeah, like eggshell white. Not like super white eggs, but not quite off-white.”

(He continues to describe the appearance of the sugar in great detail, until it is finally confirmed that it is, in fact, just sugar. Finally, he determines that I didn’t smuggle any explosives onto the plane in the form of handmade strawberry lemonade mix, and starts to put everything back in my suitcase.)

TSA Agent #2: “Coming from a wedding?”

Me: “What? No, they’re Christmas gifts.”

TSA Agent #2: “Oh. Because a lot of people give these things out as wedding favors.”

(Now I’m wondering 1.) what kind of couple can afford to give out a dozen bags of spices, coasters, a candle, and a flamingo made out of copper wire as favors, and 2.) if these are such common items, why go through all of the trouble to search my bag? I know they were just doing their job, and they were perfectly polite the whole time, but I found it ridiculous how much time and resources were wasted on this search, considering there are places where people have managed to smuggle actual firearms through airport security with no issue.)

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Preventing The Loss Of Your Olfactory Senses

, , , , , , , | Working | December 12, 2019

When I was in high school, I went shopping at the local mall with two of my friends. At the time, it was common for people to smoke everywhere with no restrictions. We were looking at many things, laughing, joking around, and having a good time.

Then, in a large department store, we noticed we were being followed even though we couldn’t see who was tailing us; he reeked of body odor and very floral, unpleasant cigar or pipe smoke. We were looking at records — yes, that long ago — and the smoke wafted our way, so we hightailed it to accessories. There was that stink again. Off to another department, and wouldn’t you know it, there the stench followed. Figuring where it was coming from, we peeked around the end of a display and saw a man trying to look unobtrusive but very much failing to do so. We let him know, in no uncertain terms, that he was to stop following us.

A few months later, after high school graduation, I started work for the local small-town police department. Although my job was primarily filing and acting as relief dispatcher, I occasionally accompanied an officer — all men — to pick up a female suspect. One day, the destination was that same department store, where they’d detained a suspected shoplifter. Entering the office, I saw, and smelled, that the loss prevention officer was that same creepy man!

I’m sure he thought we were acting suspiciously those months before because we kept quickly moving from location to location without buying anything, although he was close enough he should have been able to hear us talking about why we were doing it. I really don’t know how he could catch anyone unless they had no sense of smell!

Shortly after, the mall banned smoking and the number of apprehensions increased so I was back several times. The man still stunk of BO, but at least that truly awful smoke smell was mostly gone, thank goodness.

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Continuously On-Guard With Your Job

, , , , | Working | December 4, 2019

(I’m on staff at a church. I have a babyface, but I’m actually closer to thirty than most people think. I’m helping with a youth group event. It hasn’t started yet, so I’m setting up the check-in computer while talking to a couple of students. I’m wearing my staff badge on a lanyard. One member of our security team approaches us.)

Security: “Hey! No students in here for another ten minutes! Outside!”

(The kids scatter. I continue the computer setup process.)

Security: “That means everyone!”

(I look around and seeing, no more students, start logging in to our check-in software.)

Security: “…including you at the computer!”

Me: “Huh?”

Security: “You’re not supposed to be messing with that! Move along, young lady!”

Me: “I work here!”

(I tap my badge.)

Security: “My mistake. Continue with your setup, then.”

(Fast forward one week. I’m setting up the computer for the youth service again when the same security guard walks by.)

Security: “You’re not supposed to be in here yet!”

Me: “I still work here!”

(I pick up my lanyard and wave my staff badge at eye level.)

Security: “Oh. Uh…”

Me: “Same as last week, [Security].”

(He scurried off. I didn’t have any more problems after that.)

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