Saturday, August 12, 2006

Confessions of an Airline Passenger

William Gibson's Pattern Recognition's Cayce Pollard's friend Damien has a theory.

[Cayce] knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien's theory of jetlag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.

While I await the arrival of my soul and perhaps my wits as well, (I'm not certain weather or not your wits stay with you or your soul). I am forced to face up to certain facts.

I'm not sure, but I'm worried I may be a terrorist. You see I unwittingly at first and later wittingly brought my toothpaste with me to Japan. (Without my wits I have been unable to determine the ramifications of jetlag (with my tethered soul) and how that relates to my being unwitting, as I had my toothpaste even before I left Toronto). In any event we went through US customs in Toronto. Getting through security was quick and easy since it was early in the morning, not busy and because the news of the latest terrorist plot had not broken yet. We arrived in Dallas without losing any vital plane parts, and while we were in the lounge awaiting our next flight I heard snippits from a nearby TV about a plot to bring liquid on board airplanes. There was also a very insistent man who kept announcing that passengers were not to bring any liquids or gels though the security gates or on board any aircraft. Before we could get in any kind trouble, Aukje and I surreptitiously not to mention hastily chugged the remainder of our bottle of water. With a satisfied expression I wondered what other illegal contraband I had with me that could be a problem. After a few moments of pondering I realized that I also had a tube of Japanese toothpaste. As everyone knows it is a luxury to be able to brush your teeth once in a while during a twenty five hour journey. Since our journey had just begun I wasn't willing to scarf down the remainder of our toothpaste, just to become airport compliant. After brushing our teeth, (since it may have turned out to be our last opportunity) and then checking around to make sure we were not under surveillance, Aukje determined that I would continue to keep the toothpaste in my carry-on. We boarded our flight and left Dallas-Fort Worth Airport forty-five minutes late due to increased levels of security. I still had my toothpaste though. We arrived at Kansai Airport in Japan a little over thirteen hours later. The authorities here had their dogs on patrol sniffing us passengers and our baggage. We were stopped on the way out of the airport by the security officer so he could inspect our luggage.
We are now safely at home and I managed to smuggle my toothpaste through three countries. I must confess that I feel absolutely no remorsefulness, nor have any feelings of repentance, but perhaps when my soul and my wits are reeled in I will feel more. convicted.

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