Friday, August 20, 2010

Yes, I have one, too. It is a fine pistol.

Thomas Cole
-- "Daniel Boone Sitting at the Door of His Cabin" / 1826

Some people idolize film stars, some idolize politicians, some idolize musicians, some people idolize trash. Daniel Boone is one of the few men I idolize. I think he is one of the more important men in the history of 18th and 19th Century America, but few have any concept of what he actually accomplished as an individual, free man. History is lost on the typical American today, but that is just fine because the seed of history is the story of Lemmings (excuse me, civilizations) rushing headlong toward a cliff. It always has been that way and, I believe, always will be that way. Whatever, the bottom line is that I would wager hard cash Daniel had plenty of explosive residue in the form of spent gunpowder on his jacket. Read on, if you are curious ....

Gun! .... No, no, no -- no gun ....

Part 2 of 2 (or, maybe, 3)

This episode will be brief (comparatively speaking), and (hopefully) without any lecture regarding the fall of the United States as we know it (although, I actually believe we are on the eve of it).

When I was departing Frederic Chopin Airport in Warsaw, I crossed over from the land of milk and honey into the "forbidden zone" and exchanged waves and blown kisses with the beautiful one. I then proceeded to the first checkpoint, which includes placing coats, computers, etc., etc., etc. in baskets and walking through a metal detector. But, the big difference here from American airports -- the shoes (in my case, cowboy boots) stayed on the feet.

Mind you, this was in the Spring, just a few days after more stringent rules, searches and other "feel good" procedures had gone into place for anyone and everyone flying into America from foreign land.

So, I proceeded to the passport check. There, a young lady skidded to a visible stop when she noticed that I had overstayed the ninety-day time limit specified for anyone without a visa. I could see her mind was turning, deliberating, as she stared at the page, mentally counting up the days. Several long seconds later, she stamped the exit marker and pushed the passport back without a word.

Finally cleared to head on out, I thought, I proceed to the boarding area. Thirty minutes later, those of us there were chased out and had to proceed through another checkout point. Again, I emptied my pockets and had my carry-on items physically searched by a pair of men in black uniforms and carrying Glock pistols at their sides.

I was asked to enter what looked like an old-fashioned telephone booth. I was hit by a gust of air. A few minutes later, I learned that I had tested positive for residue from explosive materials.

One guard was very young. He looked like a teenager but, obviously, was older. He knew a bit of English, was very friendly, and not shy about talking and laughing. The other was about four inches taller and thirty pounds heavier than I am, and knew less English than I know Polish -- which is next to none. He appeared to be approaching age forty, looked and acted like a bouncer at a bar, and avoided all eye contact.

After some discussion, they me put into into a second booth. Again, I was hit by a gust of air, again made my silly, surprised expression at it and enjoyed the big smile and friendly laugh of the younger guard. The results were the same from this machine. The "explosive sniffer device" had tested me as positive for explosive residue.

While the older guard was comparing the test results from the two machines, the younger was was more forthcoming. He asked me if I had been handling explosives recently.

I was wearing a black, leather jacket, which is ancient and has the appearance of a blend between a military jacket and a biker jacket. I probably have fired several thousand rounds of rifle and handgun ammunition while wearing that jacket, and said to the guard: "This is my shooting jacket. I have fired a pistol hundreds of times wearing this jacket. Could that cause the positive result?"

The young guard's eyes widened like proverbial saucers. "Gun!" he exclaimed, in a voice loud enough to attract the attention of the older guard. "Gun! Gun?"

"No, no, no, no gun!" I exclaimed. "This is shooting jacket. I wear it when I am shooting pistols. Maybe there is gunpowder residue on it."

He understood what I said, and his broad smile returned in an instant. "I like the Glock," he said, patting his holstered sidearm.

"Yes, I have one, too. It is a fine pistol," I said. His eyes began to widen again. "At home. At home, in America," I quickly added.

To bring this to a happy resolution, I was asked to enter a room not much bigger than a large closet. My jacket pockets were emptied for a second time (third, actually, counting the initial checkpoint examination earlier). I had to take my money belts off. The older guard squeezed them affectionately. I had not even emptied all my pockets completely -- nor had I taken my boots off this time, either -- before the older guard mumbled something and left. The younger guard waited and we chatted while I put myself back together.

He said he was twenty-four, married and had two children. I asked him if he liked his work. He said it would do for how, but he did not think of it as a career.

We eventually boarded an aircraft nearly filled to capacity. I am not certain how many passengers this type carries, and I am too lazy right now to check out its capacity, but there must have been a couple of hundred or more people aboard it on the return flight. Among them, I only noticed one other man besides myself who was run through the "explosive sniffer." He had the look of a moonshiner from Appalachian hill country.

I am curious still why I was selected to be "sniffed." As an ex-Marine, I like to think it was because I had the look of being the "meanest son-of-a-bitch in the valley." I hope it was not because I look like a moonshiner from Minnesota. I do not look like that, do I?

I also like to think that the younger of the two guards went home that night with a big smile and a laugh and a story to tell his wife about the close call and dangerous encounter he had experienced at work at the airport that day. Maybe, he said something like this to her: "You would have been proud of me, honey, the way I handled a situation that could have been explosive."

I guess this post did not turn out to be very brief. Maybe, I will do a third piece. Ain't life a laugh and a half ????




16 comments:

建枫 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。..................................................... ............

Anita said...

My god!you write sooooo good!!!!!



is it true the story?

what an experience at the airport!!:)))

And the music...!!Fantastic!!!Thank you Thank you !!!!

Fram Actual said...

I still am awake. Drinking Schnapps (part German, remember), writing (trying to) and thinking about life to come a few weeks down the road. Decisions, decisions ....

Yes, it is a true story. The young guard was a gem. The story from a few hours later aboard the aircraft (and at customs in Chicago and then Minneapolis and ....) is even better (I think), but I might let it go for a while.

You are sweet beyond words, Anita. You make me think and wonder and happy to have met you. Thank you. Later ....

Anita said...

yes..you know Fram..isnt it good to have friends?Thank you for liking me..I have liked you before you even noticed me.But that is another storie.

So.you are drinking?It is good good you feel relaxed.Drinking or smoking never bother me.It is medicine sometimes!!

...


i did not go to the mountains again today.No.i went shoopping.Came home with some nice clothes and a new perfume(love It)

Lolita Lemplica!!!!

Iam smiling about your airport storie..i know how it is to be checked and they say.."Spread your legs""Many times I think they think Iam a spy or something.or do they just like it...

Fram Actual said...

In regard to your last comment in an earlier post: Living in America can be like living in any number of countries. Accents are different from region to region, lifestyles vary to a degree, customs differ depending on what nationalities settled in a particular area. If a person is going to actually live in a region instead of constantly traveling, it would be best to study different locations and pick out the one that suits them best.

Your next comment in an earlier post: No, I really do not care for fish. I eat shrimp on occasion in a restaurant, and that is about as close as I get to denizens of the deep.

The Sanctuary/Refuge house that was sold a few years ago was due to my divorce. Neither of us wished to stay there under the circumstances. The house I sold a few months ago was because I really no longer want to stay around this region permanently, and I want to be free of things that tie me to one specific location. I want to be free -- period.

Your comment here: It appears your day was a success then -- shopping with some nice clothes and new perfume as trophies. Good for you, Anita.

Kaya said...

Fram, I like very much" some idealize trash." That is true. For some reason I didn't like the word "pistol." Actually never liked it. Why not a hand gun? Never mind. It is matter of preference. Interesting story... I reread it twice. I like your writing a lot.

Both videos are great.. I liked especially the second one about the wolves. They are in snow and so beautiful. They look exactly like my Akbara and Tash from my story.

I have to find this video on YouTube. It is a mystery for me how do you find fascinating videos.

Anita said...

wow..did I ask for so much?I feel very ashamed and I will not do it again.

Have a nice weekend and good luck on your travel whever you may be going

:::

Goodnight and good weekend to you 2 Kaya.Hope you soon upload some more pictures ))))

Fram Actual said...

Actually, there is a bit of a reason for my use of the word "pistol," Kaya. In the "firearms community," handgun can refer to any manner of handgun and, sometimes, pistol is used in that sense. But, most handgunners divide them into three categories: Single shots, revolvers and pistols. The term pistol refers to semi-automatic handguns, and a Glock is a semi-automatic, hence, a pistol.

Also, personally it is very seldom I fire a revolver and never have fired a single-shot, so I have a tendency to use the word "pistol" when I am speaking of my personal shooting.

Thanks, for all the compliments about my writing and video selections. Do a quick double click on the video on my page, and it should take you directly to it on YouTube.

Thanks, for dropping in ....

Fram Actual said...

Do not ever hesitate about asking me questions, Anita. I enjoy them.

Since I am not a morning person, I will not be on the road until around ten or eleven, so I can wave goodbye to you as I leave for Treasure Island. I will be back Sunday afternoon sometime, probably around ten or eleven in the evening in Bergen. I will enjoy the weekend, and I hope your days are pleasant and pleasing for you, too.

I will ask Cheap Trick to dedicate "The Flame" to Anita in Norway ....

Anita said...

it is best not talking so much..i got some e-mails refering to how much i write to you..are we loveres bla bla bla..are we disputing bla bla bla..I need time for myself and do the things i like..namely be in the nature and create!!!..If any comments it must be at your wall.
Remeber.I am only a friend.
Take care fram.And thanx for that cheap treak .yes it is my video.

Fram Actual said...

Well, I am a little confused about all that, Anita, but I usually am a bit confused about something or other.

One last cup of coffee for now, and I will be out the door and on the road. Be back Sunday afternoon. Who knows? Maybe, I will win a million dollars at the casino while waiting for the concert -- anyway, I will test my luck.

See me? I am waving goodbye now. Take care ....

王辛江淑萍康 said...

期待新的內容 感謝你................................................

Anita said...

hi mister..!!your latest posts is not showing

Fram Actual said...

That probably is because it was an unfinished draft I did on Friday. I am not certain what happened and why it popped up like it did. Anyway, I will finish it now, during my evening.

Peggy said...

Thanks Fran for the stories - I always enjoy coming to visit you. I like your "straight up" attitude and you have a great way with a story.

I also want to thank you for the music selection - Dances with Wolves entirely suits my mood at the moment and (from the earlier blog) Cheap Trick - I Want You to Want Me brought back some memories.

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Peggy. Thank you, for the thank you.

There are many great film themes, I think, and "Dances with Wolves" is among them. As for Cheap Trick, its sound is one of my favorites, so I am glad you like this band, too.

Something special ....