What is your least favorite part of traveling? Packing? Turbulence? The kid screaming in the seat behind you with parents who think it’s adorable? My least favorite part of traveling is the anxiety of just getting to my gate. That is, when I travel with Eamonn.
I used to fly a lot when I lived in Chicago so I got accustomed to the security routine- wait in line, take off your shoes, take off your coat maybe even sweater, remove all metal jewelry and accessories. In fact, I thought ahead and did all of this while waiting in line so it seemed like a breeze.
The first time Eamonn and I traveled together was in 2009. I can’t remember if it was to Boston or New Jersey, but I remember the experience. I’m already an anxious flyer- always worried I’ll miss my flight- so I prefer to arrive at the airport well in advance of my flight time. Traveling with Eamonn has assured me that we have to be there at least 2 hours in advance of the flight because with him, we never know how long it will take to just get past security.
Eamonn can never travel lightly. No matter where or how long our stay, it appears as if we are uprooting our lives with all of our baggage. And believe it or not, most of what he brings cannot be checked because it is medical equipment and days worth of drugs. Recently we traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit Andrew and Lindsay for a couple of days. This was our security process: I went through with my normal routine as described earlier- 2 bags through, coat and boots through, jewelry off, and 2-3 minutes later (yes, I timed us!) I’m all through. Not so fast, it’s Eamonn’s turn. His coat and shoes through, his belt off and pockets empty, his vest machine (therapy device), bag full of drugs, and oxygen concentrator all go through the machine. As expected, each one right after the other is held up as airport security screams “Who does this belong to?” And Eamonn is standing there after having already gone through security himself, “That’s mine…that’s mine…that’s mine.” All three bags must be thoroughly examined and Eamonn patiently waits, answering any questions they have for him. Finally, they each go through the machine one more time, and 12-13 minutes later the kind security man gave Eamonn his vest device and said “I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve never seen anything like this…but you’re all set.” After enough time for me to grab a beer at the closest airport bar we are heading to our gate.
That first trip together in 2009 I was not prepared for the stress and drama of airport security. It had always been so simple for me. Now we know to arrive with plenty of time before our flight so that we can both remain calm. We now appreciate and laugh at the different reactions of those that have the honor of searching Eamonn’s belongings, or the frustrating looks of those waiting in line behind him wondering why it is taking so long.
So if you ever know that Eamonn and I will be at the aiport when you are also traveling, be sure to get through security before we do!