So I'm standing in line at airport security wishing I were somewhere more pleasant, like maybe the Siberian tundra, when a whole mess of beeping wakes me out of my dog-sledding vodka-swigging trance.
Airport Guy: Excuse me ma'am, what's in this metal box?
Me: A camera.
Airport Guy: (eying me warily) A camera?
Me: A camera.
Airport Guy: What kind of camera?
Me: A video camera.
Airport Guy: For videos?
Airport guy is clearly not satisfied with this description and so he asks me to open the camera case, which, granted, is bulky and reinforced with metal and locks and all sorts of things which someone might want to surround their delicate video equipment with. Airport Guy does not wait for me to open the camera case before he grabs it back from me and bangs it down on the counter five or six times.
Airport Guy: Why's it rattling?
Me: I think because you're banging it.
Airport Guy: Are you kidding me?
Airport Guy: You think I don't know what a camera sounds like?
Airport Guy: What's in the box, ma'am?
Me: My camera!
Airport Guy: (opening the box) And what about this, huh?
Airport Guy: Padding for what?
Me: Padding. It protects the camera incase it gets all banged around.
Airport Guy: Banged?
Airport Guy: Bang?
Airport Guy: Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step over here.
So I step over there, a little gray room with no windows, where I am introduced to Airport Gal.
Airport Gal: A camera?
Me: A camera!
Airport Gal: Please turn the camera on ma'am.
Me: I can't, it's out of batteries.
Aiport Gal: That's pretty convenient, don't you think?
Me: Not really.
Airport Gal: Where are you traveling to?
Me: I'm going to Florida to visit my publishing company
Airport Gal: Like, books?
Airport Gal: You said this was a camera.
Me: It is a camera.
Airport Gal: How do you know?
Me: I... what?
Airport Gal: Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step over here.
So I step over there, and I am acquainted with Airport Man, who is distinguishable from Airport Guy by a massive belly and an even more massive mustache. I wait for nearly a half hour for Airport Man to get off of a phone call, and now he wants to know what's in the box.
Me: A camera! Look! Listen, my plane is leaving in like 15 minutes and I really can't miss-
Airport Man: This will take as long as it needs to take ma'am. What's this?
Me: Lens cleaner.
Airport Man: Lens cleaner?
Me: For the camera.
Airport Man: We're going to have to confiscate this.
Me: But it's under the liquid limit!
Airport Man: Would you be willing to taste it?
Airport Man: Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to step over -
Me: Don't you think if I wanted to transport a bomb I'd pick something more discreet to transport it in? This box is plated in shiny metal with huge rivets and locks and it's massive! Who would think this was a good place to hide a bomb!? Duffel bag, sure. Baby stroller, very inconspicuous. But this? I mean, you might as well rollerblade through customs dressed as a giant stick of TNT.
And that's how you get you get your lens cleaner confiscated and your red sweatshirt triple x-rayed in the special back office in a little grey windowless room next to airport security.
God Bless America.