Being a bit obsessive, I unpack as soon as I return from a trip. After my last trip, I opened my suitcase and there it was, what we all hate to see: a TSA Notice of Baggage Inspection. Yes, strangers have pillaged my panties and bandied my brassieres. The notice said, “To protect you and your fellow passengers, the TSA is required by law to inspect all checked baggage.” Yet, this is not reassuring; it’s icky. No amount of Tide can wash away that violated feeling.
The notice also said, “At the completion of the inspection, the contents were returned to your bag.” Really? I thought, picking up an unknown shoe. The TSA believes I travel with—not a pair—but with one gladiator sandal. Maybe they should amend that notice to read, “And if we can’t figure out where an item goes, we will randomly toss it into the nearest suitcase.”
I can picture the TSA agent when he realized he had a leftover shoe. “Well, here’s a suitcase filled with mommy jeans, granny panties, and cheap Wal-Mart knock-off Sketchers, this must be where this expensive gladiator sandal with a 4” heel goes.”
The TSA notice had contact info, so I emailed, giving my name, flight number, airport of origin, and explained how a Roman gladiator sandal had hitched a ride in my bag and that somewhere a woman had opened her suitcase and said, “Where the heck is my other shoe?”
I got an automatic response thanking me for contacting them, saying that while many routine inquiries can be responded to in less than 48 hours, some responses may take longer.” The note ended with: “We appreciate your understanding. If you have any questions please feel free to email the TSA Contact Center.”
“And we will feel free to ignore you.”
Haven’t they ever watched The First 48? So far it’s been 1,362 hours.
A week after I contacted them I received a TSA Customer Satisfaction Survey. Was I: Very satisfied, satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied. It had no tick box for: You are a steaming sack poo that has no intention of helping me.
Because it looked like we’d be together for a while, I nicknamed the shoe Doric, a nod to its Roman origins, and tried to think of other ways of finding Doric’s real home. I posted a picture on my blog and I wish I could say that it worked, but it didn’t. Still I am no quitter. I’ll keep searching until I find Doric’s rightful owner, hopefully by then the other shoe will not have been dropped—into the nearest dumpster.
I keep thinking about that Disney film, An American Tail, where two lost mice, Fieval and Tanya Mousekewitz sing the emotional ballad, “Somewhere Out There” which tells of the love felt by a pair separated by vast distances, but cheered by the belief that their love will reunite them.
Obviously they’d never heard of the TSA.