Saturday, December 4, 2010

It seemed like a good idea at the time...part 2

Everything was going along pretty well except for the fact that my carry-on was a little heavier than I really wanted to carry for 30 minutes. I saw the road to the airport making a large curve and it seemed to me that I could shave off a few minutes if I simply cut across the open field (the shortest distance between two points).  That became problematic as the weeds were about a foot high and the ground was fairly soft; making for tough hiking. Still, huffing and puffing, I was getting closer.

I heard a shout off to my left, but paid little attention. There is construction in the area. Some distant shouting is to be expected. But I heard it again...and then again. I turned and saw a very large airport policeman working his way across the soft field in my direction. I decided that there was little to be gained by not meeting him halfway, so I headed in his direction. He, of course, stopped and waited for on I went with my carry-on getting heavier all the time.

Once I reached him, he informed me that there had been a call about a suspicious person walking close to the runway. I confirmed that I was the only suspicious person I'd seen but had gone no closer to the runway that where I was when he stopped me. I then gave him the short version of my story.

He asked for ID, called it in, wanted my flight information and then wanted a quick look at the contents of my carry-on. A second airport policeman (actually a woman...but police person sounds too PC) showed up and they both looked at me very sternly. I remained affable (although I consider airport police to be a small step up from a security guard, I am sure they have the authority to cause me a lot of trouble, particularly in the current elevated state of security). I chatted a bit while the second officer did something with my ID but the first officer was not particularly interested in small talk. He wanted me to understand that no one ever walks to the airport. They always “arrive in some sort of vehicle.” That is always going to raise some suspicion; walking to the airport. I could have ameliorated the situation a bit if I'd simply stuck to the road. Walking across the field in the general direction of the runway was not a good idea. He understood my basic algebra about the shortest distance...he still recommended that I stick to the road if I ever decided to walk to the airport in the future.

But the fun part was still to come.

James Snider is an global marketing professional with 16 years experience in the semiconductor and high-tech industry. He is currently working as a consultant.

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