In May I flew back to Hometown. We flew out of a tiny airport, which has the benefit of really short security lines, and no awful Backscatter machines.
I carried Alexa in a sling. This particular sling doesn't press her to my body, but keeps her more open so I tucked a blanket in around her body to keep her warm and protected. Using the sling kept my hands free to deal with Ash, and all the stuff you have to do to get through the security line.
First, we had to show our ID and tickets. While we were doing this, a man who was ahead of us, and already passed that checkpoint and in the process of taking off his shoes and preparing to go through the metal detector, was told he couldn't take his water bottle. Instead of throwing it away, he stopped, opened the bottle and chugged it. This wasn't a problem, as there was no one else behind him waiting to go through. Actually, besides all the many guards milling about, Waterbottle guy and my group were the only ones around. The problem came after he was done; he looked around confused, then came back and asked the guard checking our IDs if he knew where he could recycle his bottle. The guard was startled, not used to being approached from the back.
"I have a bottle. Where do you recycle?"
"I don't know, man."
"The bottle. I need a recycle can. Is there one out there?"
"If you go our you'll have to come back through security again."
"I need to recycle my bottle."
"Ok, man, knock yourself out.
So he pushed passed us in search of a place to recycle his bottle. The guard finished with us and I took Ash's hand to guide her to the conveyor belt. While I was putting all metal things into the bins, taking off my shoes and balancing the baby in the sling, WaterBottle guy came back, and plopped he bins down right in front of ours on the conveyor belt. H then just sort of stood there, looking back toward the first guard. I hesitated, not sure what to do. The X-ray guards were waiting for someone to put there stuff through, and the metal detector guards were waiting for someone to walk through, but I could't get around this man, and he didn't appear to have any intentions of moving. After a few seconds of looking at guards, looking at the man, and then looking at my bins, then back at the man, he looked at me in and in in a surprised voice said
"Oh! Did I cut in front of you?" I smiled but before I could answer he added: "I'm sorry! I thought you worked here."
It was one of those moments when you open your mouth, and then close it again, then open it again, then close it again. What could I say to that? I had a baby in a sling, a three-year old on one hand. I'm barefoot and juggling a carry-on, a diaper bag and the bins. So I said nothing while he kindly moved his bins to the other (empty) conveyor belt so I could move through security.
On the other side of the metal detector (which I did NOT set off, by the way) a female guard pulled me aside to get a closer look at the sling. Alexa was clearly visible, but I'm she wanted to make sure I wasn't hiding anything else in there. She poked the blanket with a gloved hand.
"What's up with the blanket?" she asked in a hostile tone.
I was taken aback. "What's up with your face?" I almost replied, but luckily my self-control kicked in and I kept my mouth shut. I simply removed the blanket to show her that it was covering the body of a tiny newborn, not a metal exploding device.
She glared at the sling, then at the blanket. "You should have put that thing through the X-ray." She snapped, then turned around and walked off. I wasn't sure what she meant by "thing." The blanket? The sling? The baby? In all three cases, she was wrong, and in any case, she was gone, so I shrugged, tucked the blanket back in, and tried to balance the Alexa and Ash while putting on my shoes.
In the meantime, WaterBottle guy made it through the other metal detector. He came and stood next to me, doing nothing, just looking around. A woman, apparently the travel companion of WaterBottle guy, Stood next to the other conveyor belt.
"Your stuff is over here." She called to WaterBottle guy, pointing to his bags and bins waiting on the conveyor belt.
He didn't move. I finished repacking all my stuff. He was still standing next to me.
"Hey! Your bags are right here!" The woman called again.
He didn't show any sign of hearing her, so, despite the risk of him thinking I really do work there, I smiled and pointed to the his stuff. He looked in the direction I was pointing and made a nod. I walked off to find my gate.
Later, I saw him get on the same plane I was on. It's too bad our seats weren't together, but then, he may have been confused as to why I wasn't flying the aircraft.