Yes it's hard to believe it but I've been here 88.5 days already, my life. They've all flown by in a haze of midnight drunken parties by the pool but as I've no memory left to speak of, I don't remember a thing about them ! Dammit. I think I had a good time and my expanded waistline tells me I at least had plenty to eat.
Speaking of things flying by, he says moving seamlessly to something totally different, when I left England way back at the end of October, my carry on case was bulging with enough drugs to qualify me as a Columbian mule. I take 6 a day to keep my heart ticking and so, with a few to spare in case I drop the occasional pill down the sink, I had 1,080 of those for a start. That's a lot to get past security at the airport, I can tell you. And although they don't weigh much, they take up a hellova lot of room in a carry on case - no, I'd never trust them in a checked case as if they went AWOL, so would my time in America.
Actually I've never been questioned about the amount of pills I bring here every trip. I think they are more interested in the layers of cables, little black boxes, batteries and other electronic crap that lie on top of them in my case. I have batteries and spare batteries for all my portable gear, including cameras. I have cables for them all too and also extra cables for connecting things to the tv here. USB cables, audio cables, video cables. I have earbud type headphones for the mp3 player, standard headphones for the laptop, Skype headphones (with mic attached) for, well, Skype calls and large cordless headphones for walking around the house still listening to whatever source the transmitter is plugged into.
If you've never listened to Jonathan Ross while on the toilet, you've never lived. Crap on the Crapper, I call it.
So with that lot in the case, including the 2 actual still cameras and lenses (and a camcorder), I don't think the x-ray machines can get through to the 6 month supply of pills underneath ! Nevertheless, I'm used to being taken to one side and asked (ha !) to open my case as all those cables and batteries usually raise a red flag with the security people. All my hours of careful packing are ruined by the ham fisted employee who knows he's not going to be the one to try and get it all back in again.
"Thank you, sir. That all seems to be fine. You may go now."
"GO now ?! GO now ?! Oh yes I'll GO alright.....just as soon as I get my shoes back on, power my laptop off, put my jacket on again, replace my dentures, refit my wig AND GET ALL THIS CRAP BACK INTO MY CASE, thank you very much !
It's like trying to get an octopus into a jam jar or Tiddles into her cat basket. You KNOW they'll fit in but, my God, it ain't gonna be easy. Or pretty.
The thing about airport security is the inconsistency of it all. I'm all for screening (no babies or kids under 19 should ever be allowed through) so I can fly safely but sometimes I have to remove my shoes, other times I don't. Sometimes I'm asked to power up my laptop, sometimes not. Sometimes I have to open my case, sometimes not.
Then there are the scanners we go through ourselves. Sometimes the one coin that's secreted itself in a deep, dark recess in my pants pocket will set off the alarm. Sometimes the $5.32 in lose change in my turn ups won't.
It doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence but how far should security go ? Many 'harmless' objects can be used to cause mischief and mayhem within a sealed plane. If I'm ever sitting next to someone who starts rubbing his plastic cutlery together to create fire or tries to open the nearest door wanting some fresh air at 35,000ft, I'm going to be using those extended audio cables for something other than listening to SuBo on my mp3.
Thanks to the Christmas bomber, I'll probably be suspicious now of any passenger who even rubs his thighs to remove meal crumbs. It a sad state of affairs when someone who needs to adjust his underwear at the end of a 9 hour flight can be made to feel like a terrorist !
How the hell did I get onto this ? I was supposed to be posting about being halfway through my trip here ! Oh yeah, I said the time had flown by, that was it. Then I digressed. It's a senior thing.
So 88.5 days still to go. Plenty more pool parties to go to and then forget about. The sun will shine, the palm trees will sway and all too soon, I'll be heading off to Orlando airport for the flight home. Of course I'll have no drugs in my case then. I'll be a proper mule and have them all inside me, to some degree or other.
As for the cables, cameras and electronic stuff, I'm tempted to just take them in a Walmart bag to save time repacking but I just know, that'll be the time when I'm not taken to one side. And here's a heads up for you. I'm taking no chances in the underwear department either.
I'll be flying commando.