Emily Wings Her Way North

Monday morning, Emily and I both got up at 6:00am to head for the Austin airport, where she would be catching a flight to Buffalo to spend several weeks with Kathy’s folks and [Martha->]. Emily was far too excited to eat, and I far too tired, so we hopped directly in the car and drove to Austin.

As we approached the security checkpoint after getting Emily’s bag checked and shelling out the $75 extortion they make unaccompanied minors pay, I realized that I still had my Leatherman with me — an accessory that would surely not go over well with airport security. I candidly told the security workers of my predicament, and asked if they could hold my knife for me for a few minutes while I escorted Emily to her gate. “You either have to take it back to your car or check it into your bag,” they instructed me, hardly useful advice since I wasn’t going anywhere and didn’t have a bag.

Not wanting to make the trek all the way back to the car, I ducked into a nearby restroom and stashed the offending knife in the toilet seat cover dispenser, where I thought it unlikely to be found. (One doesn’t ever realize what a paucity of places there are to hide things in aiports until one goes looking.)
Relieved of the offending metal, I took Emily to her gate where we sat and watched barn swallows swoop around outside the big windows and talked about the trip. Eventually boarding began, and I somewhat mistily (due both to emotion and lingering fatigue) got her on the plane.

I made my way back to the bathroom where my knife was stashed, and was horrified to find that it was closed for cleaning! Argh! I loitered for a bit, trying to decide what to do. The Leatherman was a gift — I couldn’t very well leave it. But I was pretty sure that the airport staff wouldn’t be very amused if I tried to explain what had gone on.

Eventually, in what felt like a pretty daring covert operation to a white-collar rule-following city boy like me, I snuck into the side of the bathroom where my knife was while the custodian cleaned the other side and retrieved it. Though I was sure the wild pounding of my heart would give me away, I made it out without incident, and walked quickly away without looking back.