As I chatted in the airport with other humor writers from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, we laughed about our favorite moments of the weekend. It was impossible to pick one moment; and surprisingly, each of us had completely different experiences – yet stellar nonetheless.
We hadn’t entered the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint for I had a full bottle of Diet Coke
and heaven forbid I waste that liquid gold. Plus, I needed to get my monies worth since out of desperation, I bought it in the hotel lobby and they charged me two-freaking-fifty! I could have bought half a jar of Nutella with that!
The other reason for not entering the checkpoint was once we entered the metal detectors, the conference would be finalized. We would all go our separate ways for two more long years.
Yes, the gaggle of humor writers would stay in touch through social media, but there is nothing like the weekend at Erma’s house. OK, it really was the Marriott, but quit being a know-it-all. For many of us, this conference is something we look forward to for 712 days…but who’s counting?
As the clock neared our departure time, we realized these were the last moments when the people sitting next to us, listening to our stories, would truly “get it.”
Our final captive audience.
Sure we would repeat these stories to husbands, children, friends and whoever would listen; but after awhile, their eyes would gloss over, change the subject and that feeling would sink in again that it’s O-V-E-R.
No more deep, painful belly laughs. No more camaraderie. And no more cake with every single, lovin’ meal. You think I exaggerate? Coffee cake. Breakfast. Guilty as charged!
God bless you, Erma. You obviously were looking down on us.
My fellow “Ermies” were ready to go through security checkpoint, so I headed to the recycling bin with my near empty bottle of pop. However, in this airport, I experienced something new. It resembled a clogged eye washing station for persons who had battery acid splashed in their face.
Above the standing, brown liquid it read, “Dispose of liquids here.” There were a plethora of TSA workers standing within earshot of us as I rid of my caffeinated beverage.
“Oh, Lord! There are chunks floating in here!” I gagged out loud to the nearby crowd.
I looked over to the airport workers to confirm they knew of the “code brown” at the United Airlines gate.
One of the men took one step closer to peer over my shoulder, and said, “Ma’am, I’ll get that cleared out.”
He spoke clearly and slowly into his walkie-talkie for all employees to interpret this dire message:
“I need to have a dump at station 23.”
Have you ever had the giggles so bad, but you know you will get in BIG trouble if it escapes your body? Like the time when you dropped the communion wafer into the wine.
I’ve read my Emily Post. I know there are times to crack jokes and times when you can end up in a prison camp. So I bit my tongue, bosom heaving up and down silently, and moved forward to the woman checking tickets.
Mrs. TSA was chatty which helped take my mind off of depositing my liquid assets. She asked why I was vacationing in Kansas City. After I contained my adolescent eye roll, I explained my vacation was over, that I was a writer and had just attended the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.
“Have you written any books?” she asked like a giddy girlfriend, who thought she might get free swag. At the same time, she rubbed my palms with an oversized Clearasil-looking pad which then she placed in a fancy science-machine, containing my “DNA.”
I explained I had a book that had come out several weeks prior. Well, that got Mrs. TSA all excited. She wanted to hear about my book and where she could buy one. I’m pretty sure if I had a spare in my carry-on, she would have bought it on the spot and had me sign it on her back.
Whispering so as not to make a scene, I explained I Just Want to Be Alone could be purchased on Amazon or she could get it on my website. So of course, what would any writer that had spent an entire weekend with 400 other writers do? I gave her my business card!
After all this commotion, my writer friends had moved on. It was smooth sailing for me through the screening checkpoint. No frisking, no body cavity searches and nary an x-ray machine dance booth. Just a nice hand cleaning by a friendly woman who likes to read.
I don’t know if she was checking for drugs or explosives; but thankfully, it wasn’t for red wine or cake residue because it’s going take a while to get all of that out of my system!
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