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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mary and Pearl Go to Florida; or I Don’t Know Anyone Who Thinks of Them as True Liquids

Balancing on one foot while re-shodding myself, stuffing my laptop into my carry-on and briefly marveling over the way my left leg sets off metal detectors yet contains no metal, I have made it through Security with a minimum of indignities. 

I am trying to figure out what to do with my winter coat – do I put it back on?  Do I try to cram it into my already cram-full suitcase? – when I glance up in time to see Mary shoot me a look of dismay.

“Ma’am,” says a man with a badge on his chest.  “Please step out of line.”

Mary points to herself.  Me?

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Is it what’s in my bag?  I thought I could pack anything in the bag…”

My head swivels from speaker to speaker, my jaw open, a dog watching a game of ping pong.  “What’s in the bag, Mary?”

“Ma’am,” and now he is addressing me – in the credits of this particular scene, I am, apparently, Second Ma’am – “Please step aside.”

I step, as instructed, aside.  “What is it?  Mary!  What’s in the bag?”

And Mary, a woman whose skin tone is settled comfortably between alabaster and Cream of Wheat, has gone azalea on us.

And for just a moment, I have visions of prisons, of ill-fitting clothing and garbage-bag wine. 

“What’s in the bag, Mary?”

“I – I – well you know how I go on my kicks!”

Bright spots appear before my eyes.  A humming goes up in my ears that experience tells me is a precursor to fainting.

“What kinda kicks, Mary?”

The security guard, mirthless as Death’s dad, is unzipping the suitcase.

Should we start running? I mouth to Mary.

But Mary’s eyes are not on me.  Large, bright blue, they are on the guard who is now removing the clothing from her carry on.

“Nice undies,” I say to her.

She looks up and smiles.  “They’re new.”

And that’s when he holds them up.  Not her undies, oh, no.  There are more subversive things in store for this trip than Mary’s brand-new undies.

“You can’t bring these in a carry on,” says Security Man.  Now surrounded by a supporting cast of other Security Men – all grinning – he holds aloft the offending items.

A squeeze container of Top The Tater.

A large bottle of Western Dressing.

The men in blue shake their heads.

And I am practically speechless.


“What?!  Mary!  No taters?  No salad?”

The red in her cheeks sets off the blue of her eyes nicely.  “We have a room waiting for us with a fridge and a microwave,” she says.  “And I heard you can’t get these in Florida.”

“Can’t get --?  What are we, traveling back in time?”

But Mary is undeterred.  She shakes her head, firm in her understanding that she must travel with her own condiments. 

Security Man #1 is back.  “Ma’am, do you want to put these in your bag and then check it?  You’ll have to go back through Security.”

And I already know the answer, know it just as surely as I know Mary.

She will check the bag.  She will go through Security again.

And I tie my winter coat around my waist, take a seat on a bench leading out of Security.

“I’ll be here then, shall I?” I say.

Is there more to this?  Of course there is!  Come back tomorrow!


Shelly said...

I am off to go look up what Top the Tater is. But I see Mary's point. There are some condiments worth doing time for.

vanilla said...

No. "When in Rome. . ." Yet this is a rollicking good time, you and Mary.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Missing out on her chance of culinary adventure, Mary will not relinquish the mayo... this can only get better.

Or squishy-er... YAM xx

Joanne Noragon said...

“I’ll be here then, shall I?”

I can hear Minnesota from the beginning to the end of this line.

Jono said...

Hey! They'll be so interested in my knees I might be able to smuggle some Top the Tater right under their noses! I've just GOT to try it!

sage said...

the story gets even better...

Delores said...

is this going to make you miss your plane?

wellfedfred said...

huh. did you know mascara is a proscribed "liquid"?

my view: the guard/inspector recognized it for a rather expensive brand and wanted it for herself.

outcome: I am a record holder when it comes to getting things into a little plastic bag. hah.

jenny_o said...

Oh, that Mary and her spud condiments. What dedication!

I hope they were worth it.

Elephant's Child said...

I love Mary's condiment commitment.

Merlesworld said...

All I can say is what's in the bag.

River said...

Of course take your own if they aren't available there, but while in Florida at least try their version of the condiments. You might find a new favourite.

Gigi said...

Well, she could be right. I don't think they sell Top the Tater south of the Mason Dixon line...

Sioux said...

I don't think they sell "Top the Tater" here in Missouri, either.

chickensconsigliere said...

Nope. No Top the Tater in these parts. What are we missing out on? Is it cheesy? Savory? what?

Linda O'Connell said...

On vacation in Mexico we went through the security gate and realized we had wandered back over the border. In trying to get back through the gate we were pulled aside, frisked and given the evil eye.
Those guards are probably still talking about you and Mary.

ThreeOldKeys said...

What a traveling tale ... and still in the airport!

You can hardly top Top the Tater, but I can't wait for Tip the Waiter, Flop the Gator, and whatever you Smuggle Later on the return trip.

Daisy said...

Well, I don't know what Top the Tater is either. Sounds like it's something I should find out about! My hubby had a little container of yogurt confiscated from him. He's pretty sure the agent only confiscated it because he was hungry and had skipped breakfast. :)

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Good thing she didn't bring the shrink-wrapped lutefisk.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I remember the first time Tim and I flew to New Zealand I told him clearly what he couldn't put in his carry on but did he listen NO and what happened we go through security and he gets pulled aside and told he can't take a full tube of toothpaste and his deodorant and other stuff I resisted the urge to say told you so.......