I've been home a full 24 hours now after 48 hours of traveling. Actually, if I'm going to do the math correctly it was more like 54 hours of traveling. I'm just going to say it out loud (or in writing), I'm not a fan of Continental right now. Granted the weather problems were legitimate but the complete lack of communication and misinformation that we were given was really very frustrating. My sense of humor was pretty much gone by the time we got home. But I must tell you a tale, my dear blog reading friends, of a Congressman from Texas (every time I write the word Texas I hear William Shatner in the movie Miss Congeniality).
Sunday night Continental paid for our overnight stay in Houston. 2 of us got to leave in the morning but for 4 of us our flights didn't leave until after 5pm Monday. That meant we had the whole day to, well, do something with. After an early morning and a frustrating day in the airport, none of us was moving too quickly and our window of time to explore Houston went away quickly...plus we really wanted to spend a whole lot of money on a taxi and the airport is out in the boondocks, which makes sense because it is Texas.
After spending most of the morning in the hotel lobby, we boarded the shuttle van and headed to the airport where food and bookstores were. We had our boarding passes, which meant we went directly to the security line, where I proceeded to get behind a man with many, many items going through x-ray. I had already put all my stuff in bin when I realized I should have changed lanes. The guy in front of me had an ice chest...yes, I said an ice chest, filled with dry ice and ice cream. He loudly proclaimed "It's solid as a rock! Honest!" When the checkpoint guards called over another guard the guy made the same proclamation and then said these fateful words "I'm heading to Washington DC. I'm a Congressman." Now, I was willing to give this guy a break. I want to see the good in people and usually make excuses for them but when those words were uttered, my cynical side took over and all I could see was a politician.
Mr. Congressman-from-right-here repeated himself several times, "I'm a congressman from right here." Once for the brisket, a couple times for the ice cream and again for the bottle of BBQ sauce in his carry-on, which when questioned about he proclaimed "Its only 3.4oz." and when he was told it was supposed to be less than 3oz he then said "I told her to only fill the bottle half full." At this point alarm bells are screaming in my head, screaming! But I will get to that in a minute. They let the ice cream slide but that bottle of BBQ sauce raised eyebrows. As he continued through the checkpoint, he kept saying to all of the security people (and to me) "I'm a Congressman, I'm a Congressman from right here."
Mr. Congressman-from-right-here finally went through x-ray along with all his stuff. I was pushing my things down the line, just wanting to get through security to the Starbucks that I knew was on the other side and desperately trying not to lose my cool on Mr. Congressman-from-right-here when one of the checkpoint guards caught my eye. Without skipping a beat the checkpoint guard looked at Mr. Congressman-from-right-here, looked back at me and said, "And those are our tax dollars at work." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! I could not stop laughing. Loudly, without a care that Mr. Congressman-from-right-here was standing on the other side gathering his stuff together. That one comment made my day.
They did pull his bag aside and they were checking through it. The last I saw Mr. Congressman-from-right-here was using his politician charm on the seriously not amused or interested checkpoint guard.
For the record, I think the checkpoint guards should have confiscated that Blue Bell Ice Cream, right then and there. I know it was Blue Bell Ice Cream because Mr. Congressman-from-right-here said it over and over and over again. Just like he told anyone who would listen that it was for his daughter. I didn't care but he kept telling me. No way, no how should that have gotten through. They should have kept it for themselves. But seriously, this Congressman was clearly not above using his status to get through the system. A system set in place to "protect us" (we've been on Orange alert for years now), to protect the city that he was flying into (Hello, 9-11, planes crashing into the Pentagon, one intended for the White House, ringing any bells?) and a system that should be equal for all people, no matter who they are or what they do.
I met a Texas Congressman in the Houston airport...and I wasn't impressed.