What’s in your bag….


I got selected for a random bag search at the station on my way home.

At first I was sort of excited  – this was the first time I’d even seen them doing random bag searches at a metro station, let alone been pulled aside.   (Random searches & testing for explosives residue started in December 2010 and I’ve ridden a *lot* of trains since then).

The excitement soon turned to annoyance when I joined  two other middle aged women at the table where 3 officers stood trying to get their machines working.   (Wouldn’t you think they’d have things organized *before* pulling people aside?)   We three covered their diversity objective – one white woman, one black woman and one Asian/Hispanic woman.  I will assume there were no men carrying bags/backpacks at the time we were randomly selected……

I asked an officer who seemed to be in charge:  “how long does this take”  in what I thought was my pleasant inquiring voice but which may have come across as cranky-tired- end of the day – just wanna get home- WTF – type of voice…

The very curt response:  “Dunno, but you can’t get on the train til your bag is done!”

I wasn’t willing to really test the situation but I think I could’ve walked out of the station and caught a bus or walked to the next station.   But doesn’t that just make you look suspicious….

Eventually the officer said “thank you for your patience” as he rubbed the sides and handles of my tote bag with some special dampened pad which he then wiped onto a piece of paper which he fed into the previously problematic reader.   Little bars of colour could be seen moving across the screen and then he said “you can go”…   Never even looked inside the bag.

I walked off  annoyed that I’d missed my train and thinking how absolutely furious I’d have been if that damp swab had removed any of the blue dye from my new leather bag!!!

As I’d already marked myself as trouble I thought it unwise to whip out my camera and take photos of the officers and the process  so you’ll have to make do with a photo of my maybe dangerously suspicious, but gorgeously blue, bag:



26 responses

  1. My son once whispered in my ear as we were getting the third degree from a security officer at the airport, “Oink, oink, I smell bacon.” I furiously shushed him. I hate pointless authoritarian rules as much as he does, but I don’t want to miss my flight on account of a pissed-off TSA officer.

    Also, I think the Washington Metro owes you a free pass for making you miss your train. Doubly so if you discover a stain on the leather of that lovely bag.

    • In 1999 I had a trip to the US with the manservant as he was “selling” the idea of living here. We were down near the Capitol when I made a silly joke that could’ve got us in a lot of trouble with Secret Service. I’m much more sensible now …….

      Free pass? LOL – our metro is super stingy with those – even if a train never comes once you’ve gone through the faregate the deduction is made.

  2. Cool bag! Not cool making you miss your train.
    The terrorists did take a lot of freedoms away.
    I don’t mind common sense precautions, but a lot of it seems over the top.

    • Once they got organized the actual swab/wipe/read only took about 30 seconds so if they’d had their machines working when they pulled us aside I still would’ve made my train and would have an “exciting” story to tell instead of one of frustration.

  3. I get offended when I’m searched going into the departure lounge at the airport. Inevitably I get the ‘explosives swab’ check because as a friend once told me “GOF, if you put a dishcloth on your head you’d look like Osama bin Laden.

    • LOL GOF… once at an airport my backpack was swabbed and when it came back “positive” they just about ripped the seams and lining apart as well as giving me a double-good pat down. I had just spent some time on a farm near Lightning Ridge so perhaps that explained it – they didn’t ask me.

  4. Ooooo….LOVE the bag!
    Good thing it wasn’t damaged. I didn’t realize the did all this stuff for trains (although it makes some kind of sense, I guess). Wow.

    LOL…yes, good idea not to book out of there and grab a bus, taking pix of everything as you roll away.
    But it’s BAD that they made you miss your train!


    • I’m so happy with my bag – it’s been hard to find one just the right size.
      I’d already walked 1.5 miles to the station, timed perfectly to get there with a couple of minutes to spare before the train. Sooo frustrating to then miss it.

  5. I missed this post…WAH!

    Well, how annoying to make anybody miss their trains. Jerks! I mean, that is to say…THANKS for keeping us safe and all but can you get with it? I fly RARELY but usually security is absolute hell. I can’t recall where I was that the queues were as bad as anywhere (not more or less) but the whole staff were so pleasant, it didn’t feel as bad. It makes a big difference. I *know* it’s your job. I *know* crap doesn’t work right. A smile and some freaking people skills never hurt anybody.

    • LOL – it might be all ragged and worn horribly by then. I had a lovely purple one (that this blue one replaced) – it had holes in one of the bottom corners and the seams were getting ratty. I just couldn’t throw it away until I found a replacement and this one took about a year to find! I’m a bit fussy. 🙂

      • You like what you like what you like. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! I carried the same bag for YEARS (I like Coach, but only the ones that don’t say ANYTHING about Coach on the outside…I’m not into advertising; the old, all leather ones are made WELL) and then got another one for another 10 years. Now, I’m buying Tig(nallitellinoelello — I can’t spell or pronounce it) lately at about one a year. They’re made okay but need replacing but sooner.

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