The TSA agent looked stern – as they usually do.
“I’d like to look inside this bag, ma’am,” he said.
I always sound a little too eager when being questioned by an authority figure. I’m trying so hard to prove I have nothing to hide that I sound like I must have something to hide.
The agent proceeded to open my carry-on bag.
“It’s a bowl!” I told him, with a little too much enthusiasm.
My husband, Peter, was supposed to have put the bowl in his checked luggage, but at the last minute he became concerned it might break. It was a large ceramic bowl we were bringing back from Mexico, and we’ve had ceramic stuff break in the past.
“Why don’t you put it in your carry-on?” Peter asked, after I was already more or less packed.
“That big bowl in my carry-on?” I was dubious.
“I think it will be safer. I can take whatever you had planned to put in your carry-on.”
So I took the bowl, already wrapped up in bubble wrap, and put it in my carry-on, and now the TSA agent wanted to take a look at it. Of course, it wasn’t empty.
We had a lot of little things to bring back from Mexico after three months, and Peter had stuffed who-knows-what into the bowl before wrapping it in bubble wrap. So when the agent asked me what was in the bowl, I looked bewildered – which was not the look I was going for when being inspected by this serious agent.
“Peter!” I hissed. “What’s in the bowl?”
“Food!” Peter replied.
“Food?” the agent asked.
Oh, great, I thought. Now this agent is going to be thinking we’re bringing in a ham or something. We know the rules of what can and cannot come into the country. But some things are a little vague. Meat is out. Cheese is OK. Some fruits and vegetables are out. It’s confusing, and I was worried that whatever Peter had put in the bowl might cause issues.
“Yup!” Peter said, apparently unworried. Well, it was my luggage after all, I thought.
The TSA agent proceeded to unwrap the bowl, tearing off the packing tape and taking a lot of time with the whole procedure. We had a connecting flight, and I was getting nervous, so I smiled even more broadly. At this point I was as curious as the agent to discover what was inside the bowl I had been blithely smuggling into the country.
Inside the bowl were several suspicious-looking bags. Inside the bags were lentils, chickpeas, chia seeds and shelled pumpkin seeds. The TSA agent looked up at Peter.
“Bunny food,” he said. I couldn’t tell if he was mocking Peter or simply making an official identification.
He wrapped the whole thing back up in the bubble wrap, and we went on our way.
“Bunny food!” I said to Peter, as we finally headed away from security.
We got home late. It was cold and rainy and so different from the sunny Mexico we had just left behind. In the morning, we learned we had both gained almost 10 pounds. Everything seemed a little dreary.
I unwrapped the brightly colored bowl. It looked wonderful in our apartment. I put Peter’s bags of seeds on the counter for his morning breakfast.
I was glad we brought these things back from Mexico. As we get used to gray skies and cool temperatures up north, we need the comfort of a little extra color. And we certainly need a little extra bunny food.
Till next time,