Friday, June 27, 2008


Waiting to have my I.D. checked at airport security, I chose the line with the security guard who looked the nicest -- a roly-poly young woman joking with her coworkers. Not that I have anything to hide from security. No, I'm just prone to that icky feeling you get when you have to confront authority. When someone treats you with suspicion, like they think you might try to shoplift, you can be the most innocent person in the world, but you start to feel guilty and paranoid. Marisha Pessl described it perfectly in her book (which I'm about to finish), and I felt validated. Either that's a totally normal sensation, or Marisha Pessl is just as neurotic as I am.

Anyway, I chose my line because the roly-poly guard seemed to believe people are innately good instead of evil, and because she looked like she knew how to give a hug, which you sometimes need when going through security, but just as I approached the front of her line, her replacement came -- an older woman with tight grey hair, her shirt buttoned up to her chin, and a severe, flat mouth. She wore blue latex gloves.

The nice lady who was leaving trusted us passengers not to rub diseases on our I.D.'s. The new lady clearly didn't. She had no faith in humanity at all. She had risen above lowly humanity to sit in the seat of power. And I was the first to confront her.

She looked at my I.D. VERY suspiciously, and said, "What's this? What does this say?"

I started to tell her my name, thinking she was testing me. Then I realized she meant the logo on my shirt.

"It's Barrel of Monkeys," I told her.

"Oh!" She showed some recognition but still looked confused, so I tried to help her out.

"It's a theater. We perform kids' stories."

"Oh!" she said, her face turning a little red. "Oh, I thought it was this place in the Bahamas. A really rowdy bar . . . I . . ." she sort of trailed off, turning red, aware that I might be wondering what she'd been doing at a rowdy bar in the Bahamas. "Well," she said, "I didn't . . . oh, if I'd been twenty years younger, but it was a really wild place . . ."

I explained a little more about the Monkeys.

"That's great. Well, it's better than alcohol. Oh, congratulations!" she said, still flustered, but smiling, and a human after all.

1 comment:

taipalmgren said...

We gotta find that bar.