I had an 1-day trip to Indianapolis for a show, flying out of Ft. Myers. The realtor client had a special request for his children – that I bring my bubbles, the effect in which I blow bubbles, grab one out of the air and bounce it on the floor. I assured him I’d have it for them.
I had no checked luggage.
After a rather long wait in the security line, the bubbles required a further look by TSA. Upon inspection, the secret of the trick gave them concern. I explained, with a smile and without attitude that this was a magic trick for children. Would they like me to demonstrate? “No.” The Supervisor is called over.
I should add, there’s no liquid in the trick, I’d emptied it before leaving, figuring I’d buy some at the first opportunity in Indy.
Here’s the tricky part: the TSA guy says I’m not allowed to bring 8 oz of liquid on the flight. I explain the container is empty. He says the label on the bubble bottle says 8 oz.
I explain it’s only a prop for a magic trick, and it’s empty. I ask them to “Please unscrew the top (I’m not allowed to touch anything, including their table), and look inside the container. See?” He says ‘doesn’t matter, label says 8 oz.’.
The Manager is called over. I feel like I’m going back and forth with a wall. The Manager agrees with the TSA agent ➾ 8 ounces it is. I explain – again- there’s no liquid in the prop.
After 20 minutes of starting to sweat over getting to the plane but keeping my cool, they explain to me my five options.
My 5 TSA Options:
1) Go back out through security and put it in my car (may have missed the flight, and yes, I’d still have to wait in the line again).
2) Go back out through security and mail it to myself at my destination (show was in 8 hours, 1500 miles away)
3) Go back out through security and find the post office and mail it to myself at home, but I’d still have to go back through the line and procedures of security again.
4) Go back out through security and take the trick to the ticket counter where they could try to find my luggage, then check the trick in with my bag. As I explained I don’t have checked luggage, he told me not to interrupt his options.
5) They can throw the trick away and I proceed on my way.
I chose #5, and tried to hide my frustration at having to tell the client’s kids they were not going to experience their favorite trick!
By the time I was done, I’d disappointed my client, lost 25 minutes, and argued over a non-existent 8 oz of liquid. I may have used the phrase “Are you really serious?” a couple of times.
I immediately reminded myself that bubbles are easy to replace, and that I’m making my living creating smiles. Life is good, and now has another story!