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Travels With An Airhead


— by Notch Miyake

I'm sitting in the courtyard of the Library of Hawaii wearing a t-shirt and sandals. The palm trees are filtering the sunlight into bright patterns on the cool marble floor. I can hear mynah birds squawking over the hum of traffic. Later this afternoon, I will run around Diamond Head. Afterward, I will jump into the ocean to cool off. Look, after the ordeal of traveling out here from Rochester, I need a little bit of slack.

The trip began with a random search of my checked luggage. The way it works is simple. Everything is taken out of your bag and dumped on the table for everyone in line to see. For example, the woman in front of me had some very nice lace panties and peek-a-boo negligees.

Then every article is closely examined for explosive devices. The Playboy magazine I had in my bag came under extra scrutiny because terrorists are known to hide bombs in the centerfold. All the guys in the security area had to take a look at it.

When the search was complete, everything was stuffed back into my bag. If you are lucky, some good stuff from the person next to you might end up in your bag. The nun being searched next to me must have gotten my Playboy. It was missing when I got to Hawaii. But I got a nice crucifix in exchange.

The next search is at the entrance to the gate area. This search is greatly simplified by the x-ray machine, which instantly fogs film, makes you sterile if you stand too close, and detects metal objects such as Colt 45 "Peacemaker" revolvers. They didn't see any of these items in my carry-on bag, so they searched it by hand.

I think they were a little disappointed when they found nothing but highly intellectual reading material. Next time I'll put in some comic books so they won't be so suspicious.

The metal detector is high-technology magnetic device that will mess up the brains of people standing near it for too long. If you observe the people working at this checkpoint, you will see what I mean. It also erases credit card data.

The guy ahead of me went through the metal detector after emptying his pockets and taking off his watch. Beep.

"It's probably your belt buckle," said the guard. So he took off his belt and went through holding his pants up with his right hand. Beep.

"I guess I have to wand you," said the guard. "Put up your arms."

As soon as he put his arms out, his pants fell down. I wonder where he got the Smiley Face underpants?

It makes motorcycle travel seem simple. I'm trying to figure out a way to get to Hawaii on a bike. In the meantime, Hau'oli Makahiki Ho'u. Have a Happy New Year. Ride far, ride safe.

— Copyright © 2002 by Notch Miyake.

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