Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pocketknives and the Hope Diamond

So, the other day Norman and I went to the National Mall to see the sights. Apparently something happened on September 11, 2001 that precludes citizens from carrying pocketknives in museums. I have carried a pocketknife, on and off, since I was about 13 years old. I didn't even think that I would have to pass through metal detectors to get into the Smithsonian Institution museums. When I got there, my heart sank. I carry a Gerber 3" knife everywhere I go. My dad bought us matching knives when we went to New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, and I didn't want to give up the knife. There is nowhere to "check" the knife, no lockers, no anywhere to leave it.

I didn't know what to do. I had traveled two hours from my cousin Robby's house in La Plata, MD to meet Norman. I left my car at a Metro station a full hour away; there was nowhere to leave the knife where I knew that I could retrieve it after my touring. So, I sat down along these stone barricades in front of the Museum of Natural History to think about what I could do. While sitting there I realized that the grass was unusually tall, and that if I dropped the knife flush up against the backside of the barricade on the grass side, I might be able to leave it until I was done. So, I dropped it, after looking around and "casing" the Capitol police like I was a common criminal. I worried that if one of them saw me leaving my knife, I might get arrested for breaking some unknown arcane law about who knows what and be branded the terrorist that the Department of Homeland Security already thinks I am; for those who don't know, I get pulled for extra security every time I fly--too many John Williams on the watch list I guess.

But, I sat there for 15 mins, waited until the guard turned around and dropped it. Norman and I went to all kinds of museums, gardens, galleries. At the end of the day, eight hours later, we went back to see if it was still there. Aside from costing $25 to replace, it was one of the last gifts my father ever gave me. I hoped that I had gotten away with it.

We walked up; I bet Norman a penny that it would be gone.

I lost the bet.

She's in my pocket as I write this. No, it's not a weapon; it's a tool that I use daily. Metal detectors at museums do not make you anymore safe. No way.

1 comment:

chattypatra said...

Huy, ¡qué atrevido eres, Mac! jajajaja. Weren't you the least bit worried about getting arrested?
I'm sure your family would have been thrilled. Bwah! I hear you, though. I lost a pair of scissors my mother had bought for me when I passed security at the airport the Summer I moved here, simply because I forgot to pack it in the BIG bag I had checked in. I offered to pay the guy to mail it to me at home. He refused and threw it in the trash. JERK.

God Bless America.