Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Plane Smoking

My feet stank like ass tonight. Let me qualify that. No, I guess I can't really qualify that: my feet stank like ass. I have unbreathable shoes and have --as of recently-- been employed by an every-single-day-business-casual company. We don't even get to wear jeans on Friday.

So I drove out this morning from Winston Salem at 6:45am, returned home by 6:00pm in order to drive my daughter to Raleigh Durham International Airport so she could fly home (solo) for the holiday.

So what does this have to do with anything, fair readers? National security.

Going through the process of your only daughter flying solo for the first time is enough to muster a great deal of emotion (always from the parent: she was fine), but first I got to deal with airport security.

I'm a smoker. I know, it's bad for me, and according to discredited studies, bad for everyone else too. But I had a lighter in my pocket this evening when I went through security.

I had planned it perfectly: I wore a jacket so all the crap I kept in my pants pockets was moved into my jacket, and when I hit security, I simply mounted my jacket into the tray and didn't have to worry about all the ancillary BS that goes with refilling my pockets. But I did have a lighter.

After having to take my shoes off because the tiny buckle on them beeped (but the large one on my belt didn't --notice to potential evil-doers: put the bomb in your belt buckle), I walked my stank-ass, shoeless feet through the detector to have the woman at the other end, who had apparently rifled through my jacket pockets, holding my lighter in front of me.

"You can't have this," she said.

"Uh...okay, I guess," was my reply.

I had heard about the lighters and matches being banned on planes, but thought that I'd heard something else about lighters being allowed on planes again. I guess I'd heard wrong. For those who've been living in a cave for the last decade, Richard Reid was the "Shoe Bomber" of fame who failed to light a bomb in his shoe with a match.

So the government banned lighters and matches from flights. That makes sense in a retarded sort of way (just in case we don't get the bomb in the scan of your shoes--which we make you take off--at least we have your lighter). But then they renigged and again allowed matches. But still no lighters. Apparently none of the people making laws that would save our country have ever smoked: always carry matches in case the lighter gives out.

So the lovely woman at the gate looked at my dumfounded expression and immediately offered me a pack of matches to take with me. What? Okay. I'm an attractive guy. Perhaps I inadvertently wooed her. I took the matches, as I would invariably be smoking on the way home.

But WTF?

After smoking by using these matches, I found that the "Carolina Hotel" matches pack quite a punch. A crappy match fold will yield matches that burn hot for a good half second before settling down. These were monsters. Almost two seconds of match-head burn. And on the first strike. Way better than my crappy lighter ever would've been.

So the WTF award on this post goes not only to Raleigh Durham International Airport, but the (probably smoking) idiot who changed the law.

Should lighters and matches be allowed on flights?

As long as they put my shoes through the scanner and feel okay about smelling my stank-ass feet, there's no need.

But watch out for the belts.