When I walked through the airport terminal with a 6"x6" cardboard box I could feel eyes on me. And the box. At the security checkpoint I emptied the pockets of my cargo pants into one grey trey and in another I placed the box and gently pushed it along onto the TSA conveyor belt and through the black flaps, pretending it was getting an airport car wash. As the box passed through the x-ray machine I wondered what it would look like to the screener.
"Sir, is this your box?" the burly, seemingly annoyed woman with the Homeland Security badge asked.
"Can you step this way?"
"Please open the box".
I did. She looked in, probed around with her latex-gloved hand, looked up at me, shook her head, pushed the box in the trey towards me and said "you can go".
As I stood in line to board the plane a woman behind me in line, but standing next to me as if I might not notice her and let her sneak by looked over at the box tucked under my arm and asked "An urn? Sometimes people carry the ashes that way."
"No, but close" - I said, slightly sarcastically.
On the plane I placed my laptop in the overhead compartment above seat 3D, I reached down, grabbed the box and placed it gently in the little space that was left.
"Whatca got there?" the flight attendant asked in a half-joking, half-gruff, suspicious tough guy tone. I could feel the people around me wondering the same thing. What is it? Should we rush him? Grab his box from him? He has a goatee. People with beards can't be trusted. I closed the compartment hatch and sat in my seat.
I've never asked anyone what was in their purse. Or what's in their laptop bag. Why should I tell anyone what was in the box?