When the TSA announced its rules about carrying liquids on planes, I decided that I would silently protest the ridiculous requirements by never taking the liquids out of my luggage. TSA has helped my cause by never scanning my carry on and then asking me to remove the liquids. Until today.
But first, a clarification. I have twice removed liquid from my luggage:
Time 1: The TSA agent in Springfield, Illinois, was so unbelievably nice on a flight in 2006 that I decided to take out my liquids in advance. She didn’t even ask, but she was so courteous and wonderful that I wanted to return the favor by actually removing the liquids from my bag.
Time 2: Also in 2006 we were traveling with our girls (then infants), when the TSA agent at Newark Airport asked us to throw out the baby food we brought for them. Susan had to talk me down, as I was pretty sure I was about to be arrested for my response to that request.
Now, I fly 50-60,000 miles a year, meaning that since 9/11 I’ve probably flown 500,000 miles without being asked to remove my toothpaste and whatnot. Until today. The eagle-eyed TSA fellow at Cincinnati’s Terminal 2 saw my toiletries on his scanner and asked me to remove them, place them in a plastic bag, then re-run them through the machine. I’m not sure I understood the entire thing, but I felt a bit like Jean Valjean after he was finally confronted by Javert.