Adventures in Travel
I was on the road a lot in October. There used to be this term for people that traveled frequently. We were called “Jet Setters.” The term itself evoked a certain type of wonderment, style, and adventure. Well, no more. Today’s traveler is more likely to feel as if he has to do battle when he or she heads to the airport. And if you have had to fly anytime recently, it is even more so.
That battle starts before you even leave the house. Let me explain. In August the TSA changed all of the rules for carry on luggage. That means all of us who either do not want to wait for 2 hours to get our baggage at the carousel, or who are too paranoid to check said baggage have had to make a few changes in how we do things.
The first thing you must do is go to the TSA website and read up on their policies, which they will change arbitrarily depending on the time of day, airport you are at, or the general mood of the screener. Having done that, you must head out to the store and purchase your mini toiletries, all of which must fit into one small plastic bag. For a guy, this is horrible. Most of us don’t like shopping and life is good if our wives just bring us back whatever works and it is something they like. Besides, there are far too many choices on that aisle to make this a quick trip for the uninitiated.
Since Chelle was out of town, I had to make one of those trips recently. I was able to get most of what I needed, except deodorant, which seems to be made only in 3.5 ounce or larger sizes and thus cannot go in your carryon luggage. And then I went to the toothpaste aisle. I was amazed. 12 feet of toothpaste stacked on shelves four feet high. I think there was enough toothpaste for half of America. There were tubes, bottles, and pumps. Stripes, crystals, and colors. With mouthwash, without. Tartar control or not. Gel or paste, or even powder. For sensitive teeth, or maybe for non feeling teeth. And then the flavors! Mint. Bubblegum. Fresh Breeze. T-Bone Steak. And my favorite, Fresh Citrus Splash. I guess you can also use it as cologne when you go out on that special date. But I just wanted paste. TOOTH PASTE. No special flavors, no colors, no speckles, no gel. Just paste. Regular old-fashioned Crest Toothpaste in a tube, 3 ounces or less. It did not exist. Here amongst this warehouse of toothpaste, they not only did not have regular, they did not have any toothpaste in the approved 3oz. size. It was incredible.
So I bought the Fresh Citrus, 7 ounces. Let me tell you something. It is great behind the ears, but horrible in your mouth. Who thinks of this stuff? I am trying to imagine a group of people sitting around the table in suits and ties and one of them says, "Hey, how about a citrusy flavor? Yeah, and we can add Scope mouthwash to it." It must be the same kind of guys who sit around thinking of names for paint colors, but that is another story. So now I am stuck using it. And since I had to get the larger size, I also am checking my luggage more.
Which is always best, especially if you happen to have a random tube of Chapstick in your pocket, or if you forgot you had a large butcher knife in your computer bag. And you have been through airports in Oregon, California, Georgia, or even Hawai'i. But that too is another story that'll have to wait for another time.