I was cleaning out my files this weekend and found notes I'd taken on a flight to Alaska years ago. I never wrote about my experience in the airport that day, but feel this story has been shelved long enough.
In airport. I am standing in a security line behind a Big-Boned Woman who has short hair with tight curls and is wearing a light blue sweatsuit with ducks on it. The line is moving slowly. The BBW steps up to the security guard who marks off her ticket, allowing her to proceed to the x-ray conveyor belt. I fall in behind.
(BBW takes out her key, rings, and a small bag, and places everything in a tub for inspection. She approaches the metal detector.)
Security Guard: Ma'am, you need to take off your shoes and put them through the x-ray.
BBW: Can I just take them off and carry them through?
Security Guard: No, take them off and place them in a tub.
BBW: (loud whispering) I stepped in dog poop outside.
Security Guard: You still have to put them through the x-ray.
BBW: I tried to wipe off the poop but there wasn't any grass and now it's stuck in the grooves. I couldn't get it all off.
Security Guard: Please take them off and put them on the conveyor belt.
(BBW takes off her shoes and raises them up to put in a tub. The smell hits the guard and everyone in the area. People grab their noses and wince.)
Security Guard: (holding nose) Wait! Don't put that in there. Let's see if we can find something to put underneath those.
BBW: I told you. It smells awful. I don't have any other shoes.
Secruity Guard: (looking around, finds nothing, to line) Does anybody have a paper bag or something?
(The crowd shifts and mumbles.)
Security Guard: How about a newspaper?
Man: I have a newspaper but I'm reading it.
Security Guard: Are you reading it now? Do you want it back?
Man: Yes, I said I'm not done with it. What is it for?
Security Guard: We need to put some shoes on it.
Security Guard: Yes, some dirty shoes--
BBW: I stepped in poop, okay? We don't want to get it on everything.
Man: (disgusted) Oh my.
BBW: It's dog poop, relax. I couldn't wipe it off and I don't have any other shoes.
Man: You can have the Arts section, I don't read that.
BBW: I might want to read that. Do you have another section?
(Man passes Art section forward.)
Man: Uh, well, let's see? (passes up the Metro section) Will that work?
Security Guard: That'll do it. Thank you.
BBW: Thank you!
(BBW steps through scanner and is on her way. Once she is gone only the smell from her soiled shoes remains.)
Woman: (whispering to friend) I hope those shoes aren't on my flight.