This is a true story.
“I’m not going paint balling,” said one TSA official to the other across the conveyor belt that had just delivered one of my boots.
“Come onnnnnnn,” the agent on the other side replied.
“Not gonna happen. It’s too cold out there.”
I watched the screen of the X-ray machine in the distance wondering if it was possible that this could turn into a washing machine eating my sock episode. I had just had those boots resoled and shined.
“You’re supposed to go paint balling in the cold,” he kept on, “that way you can run all around and you ain’t sweaty.”
“Bag check,” the woman sitting at the X-ray screen called stifly.
“Fine,” he said, “but you sound like a girl.” He smiled and shook his head back and forth, then he picked up the bag to check. It was mine.
“I would go,” I said.
He looked at me.
I was wearing one boot and one tennis sock with leggings tucked in to it, a hoodie and a panda scarf, but my hair was done and my eyebrow game was on point. I raised one of my groomed eyebrows and smiled.
“What?” he asked dumbly.
“I would go paint balling in the cold,” I said. The X-ray girl smiled. “I would out run you, and get sweaty, and aim to fire. So don’t go calling him a girl, he’s nothing like a girl.”
He blinked at me and put the suitcase down.
“Now,” I continued, “could you be a dear and fetch my boot?”