Monday, December 1, 2008

Smuggling rosemary across state lines

My room mate is a fan of spices. He has a veritable schmorgasboard of peppers, salts, seasonings, oils and what not. I have on more than one occasion used his seasonings to make delicious roasts, steaks, and other sumptuous meals. 

Unfortunately for both of us, I have a pension for rosemary. I use it a lot. And, that means I used his rosemary a lot. So, after a while we (and by we I mean he) were out of rosemary.

Well, I knew how this little dilemma could be remedied. Over the Thanksgiving break I went to visit my grandparents. And, it just so happens that my grandmother grows a lot of herbs. One herb which she has in vast quantities is rosemary. My room mate knew this when sent a text message to me during a dinner with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, brothers and cousins. This was his text message:

"Hey. Bring back copious amounts of rosemary."

The reason my room mate knew about the rosemary was because he had visited my grandparents' home before when we stopped there on our way to the coast for our surf trip. On that trip we collected bags of kumquats, boxes of oranges, bags of lemons, and of course my room mate grabbed quite a bit of rosemary. So, after having used up all of his rosemary at home, I promised him I'd get some when I went out to my grandparents' home for Thanksgiving. 

He didn't forget my promise.

Getting the rosemary was no big deal. I just told my Nana that my room mate wanted some, and she was more than willing to oblige. She and I went out to her gardens with clippers and she and I went to work. She is probably the most agile pruner I've ever seen. In the time it took me to fill one big freezer bag full of rosemary, she had filled two (For those of you who are not math majors out there, that means I had 3 bags of rosemary). Later, as we were packing to leave, Nana asked if I had remembered to pack the rosemary. I said, "Yes. All three bags," to which Papa replied, "Yessir, yessir, three bags full." He rarely misses an opportunity to be anecdotally irreverent. 

So then it was on to the airport with two carry ons. One was my typical carry on, my computer, head phones and reading material, and the other was the bag full of three sack lunches and three bags of rosemary. After eating the lunches, I was able to consolidate the rosemary into my brother's carry on as well as my own.

Here's where it got interesting. I'm sure you're familiar with the TSA. They are that ever so useful new bureaucracy that screens bags and pats us down at the airport with efficiency that only the government is capable of.
Well, apparently they had either a botanist or herbologist on their staff because they let both me and my brother through security without even lifting an eyebrow at our three giant bags of herbs. I thought to myself, "Wow. Imagine if it wasn't rosemary? Or imagine if we had some other herbs in the bags with the rosemary to trick any drug-sniffing dogs?" 

I had to ask around to figure out if this was a familiar incident with the TSA. 

My other room mate (the one who doesn't really care about rosemary and is not my brother) told me he accidentally left a pocket knife in his bag and he got through without a hitch. My uncle told me a group of his friends had two boxes of airsoft guns in their bags and they only got stopped for sunscreen. A classmate of mine said that he got stopped in the airport for shampoo, while his friend got away with a whole can of mace. Oh TSA. You're so competent (and I love you for it).

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