Thursday, August 31, 2006


Most of you do not, nor will you ever, understand the tie I have with my cell phone. That’s okay. My family understands and has for a matter of years lived with this little obsession of mine. The following conversations actually took place among my family members the day I lost my phone. Please keep in mind these people are suppose to love me.

When Char and Tiffany were talking, Tiffany said, “Mom, all I could imagine was a little old man curled up in the comer of the airport whimpering ‘I lost my cell phone. . . I lost my cell phone.”

When Char told our son Nate what had happened he asked in a very serious tone, “Is Dad still alive?”

Yeah – that’s love.

So knowing that the most dramatic part of my day was losing my cell phone that makes going through security three times in an hour a walk in park. Except, losing your cell phone will rarely land you in jail. Not ‘behaving right’ at security can.

Security Visit One: After getting my ticket, I stood in line at security. Security had been elevated so the lines were somewhat longer than normal. Finally, it was my turn to hand the TSA (Transportation Safety Authority) agent my driver’s license and ticket. Without a smile, without a ‘hello”, she looked at me, studied my drivers license and then scribbled on my ticket. The line kept moving and before long, I had my backpack, my shoes, my billfold, a pen, and thirty-seven cents in a plastic tub to be ran through the x-ray machine. I reached for my cell phone and – GONE! My cell phone was gone! I stood there for a minute staring, just staring, at the plastic clip where it should have been. I grabbed all my stuff and hurriedly got out of line. That's when a TSA agent told me to get back in line. There was no stare down, there was no stand off, I just told the guy I lost my cell phone and I was going to go look for it. Surprisingly, he just walked away.

After an exhaustive search (you had to be there) for my cell phone, I finally concluded it was lost. So, having aged somewhere between three and five years, I decide to go back through security and get on with my day.

Security Visit Two: Standing in line this time was a little different. I am sure my face was red, I know I was sweating (I had ran around that airport for thirty minutes) I handed the TSA person my drivers license and my ticket. She looked at my ticket and questioned me, “You’ve already been through security?” I explained to her I got out of line to go look for my cell phone. She gave me a stern look and told me I was to never get out of line once I started the security process. She then studied (yes, studied) my drivers license and ticket, made another mark on the ticket and told me I would be getting ‘extra’ security. Once again, I got half-naked in the center of the airport and emptied all my possession in the tub. Immediately upon walking through the x-ray, someone grabbed my arm and the plastic tub and asked me to get out line. There I stood in the center of security, spread eagle as they waved the wand over my body, not once but twice. They wanded my shoes as well. I was asked if they could go through my backpack. My official answer was, “Yeah – sure.” Unofficially, I wanted to say, “If running your hand through dirty underwear turns you on go right ahead.” Soon me and my dirty underwear were on our way.

I bought a phone card and called Tiff who told me my cell had been found. This had to be miracle. So, without giving it a second though I left the secure area and went back to the main terminal to get my cell phone. It was a happy reunion between my cell phone and I – we laughed, we cried . . . okay, that might be a little much. But, I do remember giving it a kiss right before I called Tiffany. With that done it was time to go back through security for the third time in an hour.

Security Visit Three: So there I stood, my drivers license and ticket in one hand, my cell phone in the other, and a backpack with dirty clothes hanging off my shoulder. The TSA agent took my ticket, looked at it, and blurted out, “How many times have you been through security?” I explained to her only once completely. She turned and summoned over two more agents. The three of them and I had a conversation on why I had been through security so many times in a short period of time. Finally, the agent standing behind the lady said something to her in a low voice and she marked my ticket and handed it back. The line was moving and I was still happy when suddenly there was commotion behind me. When I turned around there was a thirty-year-old man and a fifty-year man pushing and shoving each other. It drew a lot of attention including that of five TSA agents and three police officers. It seems like the younger guy had spit of the old guy for whatever reason. The TSA agent who marked my ticket walked up to me and asked if I had seen how it started. I didn’t. The older guy stated he wanted to press charges and both men where pulled out of line and lead off. Once again, all my worldly possessions made it through x-ray, and I walked through the screening area. Once again, someone grabbed my arm. Once again, I was wanded. Once again I was asked if they could go through my backpack. When everything was done, I was asked to go with a TSA agent for ‘additional’ screening. Fine with me, I had my cell phone. We went over to an isolated part of security and I was asked again, why I had gone through security so many times. I explained in a very calm voice all about my cell phone. They then asked me if I could prove I lost it. Now, that kind of set me off. I whipped out the phone calling card I had bought and told them that was the biggest scam I had ever seen, I then produced the receipt for it so they could see when and where I bought it. Finally, I realized now would be a good time to settle down and just try to get through security. I was asked how the fight behind me started. When you don’t know the answer is easy. Finally, the TSA agent looked at me and said, “That cell phone story is so ridiculous it has to be true.” And with that, he sent me on my way.

Clearing security three times in an hour – something I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.


Anonymous Jerry said...

And these security folks thought you looked a little fishy...and they haven't even seen you in curlers! You must have an untrustworthy vibe about you, Ralph.

Glad you found your phone. It would probably take me a week or so to notice if I lost mine.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I just told you a day or so ago to neve lose your cell phone in the airport.
If you had heeded that advice none of this would have happened, at least not three times.
Seriously, I thought electronics were now banned from the passenger area along with all liquids?

11:43 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

This reminds me of a flight I took in the early 80's. There was a lot of airport security then because it was around that time that DC-10's kept exploding/being bombed/getting hijacked. I was actually on a plane once that supposedly had a bomb on it, but I wasn't told about it until after I disembarked. Anyway...

I had won a large stuffed animal at a county fair and was taking it on board with me. As I carried it through the metal detector, the alarm kept going off. I was 10 I think, scared and flying alone, but they repeatedly sent me through and wanded me multiple times just the same! In the end it turned out that the stuffed dog had a wire frame inside, and that was what kept setting off the alarm.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Cliff Morrow said...

The scary part for me Ralph is that I know you pretty well and I know that 'I kissed my cell phone' was not an embellishment.
You need to travel by plane more. It's very entertaining.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Such a love affair with your cell phone Ralph! Who would have ever thought it!! I think you better secure it better so there is no danger of it being lost again. I can see the headlines now,

Lost Cell Phone at Airport Causes Disturbance. Man Taken to Jail.
Article Page 2

7:58 AM  
Blogger 1 plus twins said...

that is too funny, i can see you kissing that cell phone. lol your family must know you well to make those jokes!! they are funny. i can't believe the airport gave you such a hard time. that is crazy.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 1 plus twins:

His family does know him very well and we were all very serious--no joke!


6:18 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Do your gonads glow in the dark now from all those rads every repeat trip??? :P

1:53 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I'm so glad you and your beloved phone were reunited.
What a security ordeal!
I'm sure you DID seem mighty suspicious though, and security is especially tight since the London thing and the upcoming anniversary of 9-11.
You picked a really bad time to lose your cell phone!
See that it doesn't happen again!!
You could chain it to yourself. I think desperate measures are in order.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous **Silvermoon** GEL said...

Glad u found ur phone!
I feel for you. I was in a wheelchair shortly after 9-11 on a plane trip alone out of D.C. At the other end of my trip, there had been a security threat the day of my flight, so I got more than the thrice over... espcially b/c some people were pretending to be disabled in wheelchairs. I was treated so rudely I wish I was an attorney. Grown men literally cried in line at what was done to me. (Much was not necessary, downright cruel, violated my rights, and is a book in and of itself... and I DO believe in our national security.)

I'm glad ur story had a happy ending.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Ralph, this has to be one of my favorite posts of yours! I know about the cell phone thing. . . and only you would be willing to go through security 3 times to be back with your beloved. :)

Good stuff. Really, really great.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Whurl Girl said...

Commercial Aviation is why some people choose to charter their flights, and if more people would do that, Elliott would be able to work regularly, Ralph!

Have you ever stood on the #15 Bus traveling on E Colfax at rush hour with a domino game happening in the back of the bus, a large woman breast feeding her baby, two drunks sharing a paperbag and a couple practically procreating in one of the side seats, just waiting for your stop to come so you could tear out this teaming whale of humanity that brings you to the brink of insanity? Yep, it's just like flying commercially, and the reason I will drive across the country at $3.25 a gallon to get to where I need to be, if I can't hitch a ride with hubby in a charter flight.

That calling card con is the reason I'll give someone $2 to use their cell phone if I don't have mine with me.

My heart aches for your pain, my friend! And kissing one's cell phone is very common, just don't let anyone else kiss yours.

hugs and wishes~


7:09 PM  

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