Shoes, Scissors and Terrorism

When I was in college and being supported by my parents, not to say that my parents are not currently supporting me, my father and I made a deal. We agreed that, if he would buy me two dresses that I desperately wanted, I would neither buy nor try on a single pair of shoes for six months. Now, before you judge me (and I don’t care if you do, I love shoes), you must understand that if you could get hooked on an article of clothing, stilettos would be my heroin. Some people drink when they are upset; some people smoke when they can’t handle things; some people go so far as to actually hit the gym when life seems crappy. I do one of two things: take a nap or buy some shoes. Works every time.

I walked out of the department store thinking that I had just scored big time, which, well, I had considering I was now the owner of two new, killer dresses. I also thought that there would be no way my father would stick to the stupid deal we had made. Surely he knew me better than that.

A few weeks droned by and I refrained from touching any new shoes. I lasted a good two months before my friend, Erin, asked me to go shopping. Of course she wanted shoes.  I threw caution to the wind and tried on what can only be described as a freakin’ sweet pair of boots. Not to toot my own horn, but they looked great on me. Needless to say I purchased the aforementioned shoes and stashed them in my trunk so my father wouldn’t see them.

Another month passed before my father discovered the hot shoes. To be blunt, he was pissed. That was the first time I was caught with shoes in my trunk. The six months passed, and I let my dad think that my mother and I had refrained from any more “frivolous” purchases.

When I was 13 years old I visited my aunt in California. I brought along my backpack to keep up with my homework, and my mother escorted me through security and onto the plane (because you could do that then). I waltzed through the metal detector, excited about my big trip, when I was pulled aside by security and told that my bag needed to be searched. If they wanted my copy of Medea that was fine with me, but now I wasn’t going to have time to get McDonalds before the flight. Tres annoying.

My mother watched as the officer motioned a heavily armed guard closer. And when I say heavily armed, I mean the man was carrying a gun that would make Rambo’s mouth water. The officer proceeded to remove my pencil case and extract upwards of four pairs of scissors. My mother gave me the look that simply screams “Are you serious?” It was a very tense/ awkward moment. My mother was so embarrassed she did what any woman in her position would have done: begin to apologize and loudly ask me what was wrong with me and what could I possibly have been thinking.

In all fairness, I didn’t remember about my scissor stash. It had taken me weeks to pilfer all of my mom’s shears, an act that had driven her up the wall. Every time she would look for a pair to cut something they would have magically disappeared. Watching her buy new scissors every week and then lose it when they went missing was more than mildly entertaining. The fact that she never checked my pencil case was hilarious.

My mother pleaded with the security guard not to throw her lost collection away, and to let her retrieve the scissors after she had dropped her problem child off. Shockingly, they consented. I got on the plane; my mother regained her scissor collection.

Two weeks ago I drove down to the Tampa Port Authority. I was going to interview someone for an article I am working on. To get access to the port one must pass through a security checkpoint. Thinking nothing of the contents of my car, I zoomed up and rolled down my window. I was told to open my glove compartment and trunk, both of which I knew were packed.

What I didn’t think about was the fact that I had twelve shoeboxes in my car from my recent move into a friend’s apartment. The guard, Omar, opened the trunk, whistled, and called two more guards over. A very stern- looking man walked up to my window and asked in a cold, monotone voice, “What’s in the boxes, ma’am?”

Needless to say, I felt like an idiot. I assured them that they were filled with shoes. They ripped open every box just to check, and honestly, knowing my history, I can’t blame them.

They let me into the port, I got my interview, and I went home. When I told my family the story they simply shook their heads. They failed to see the humor in the situation.

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