Too easy, Cristin. Too easy. If you know our family at all, you know we have airport issues. We arrive at the airport the recommended three hours before any flight, domestic or international because, well, we need it. I could tell you about the time the Rugby Star had to fill out some international Brit-trying-to-get-into-America card that no one told us about but we didn’t have a lap top and the airport didn’t have wifi. Or I could tell you about the time the security people tried to confiscate, not my knitting needles but my yarn, in case I wanted to strangle someone on the plane. Or how about the time the Rugby Star got whisked off to one of those crazy customs rooms to be interrogated because he had come into America a few too many times. OR about the time they held our dogs hostage because, again, the Rugby Star was coming in and out of America too often and they suspected our marriage was a sham (I was pregnant with our second child at the time- I really go above and beyond for my Visa-marriages *side-eye*).
Instead, I’ll tell you about the time we were pretty sure we were going to to Kuwaiti jail. As you may or may not know, Kuwait is a dry country- you cannot purchase alcohol of any kind (including real vanilla) or bacon. Whenever we prepared to head back to Kuwait after summer or Christmas trips, we would make a final stop at a liquor store and pick up a couple bottles of wine or spirits, camouflage them in our bags and keep our fingers crossed that no one went snooping as we went through security.
This particular Christmas, we were packing up after a lovely wintery holiday in England. About thirty minutes before we planned to leave, the Rugby Star remembers we haven’t packed any contraband, so he and his dad run to the store and grab a box of red wine, my favorite. The RS tosses it into the bag and zips it up, ignoring my suggestions that it should be IN something- a plastic bag, a ziplock, or we should ‘water bottle’ it as we usually do (this involves filling a plastic water bottle half way with alcohol and then squeezing it flat until all the air is out- that way it doesn’t look like a bottle). “Nope,” says he. “Everything will be fine.”
We land in Kuwait, grab our bags off the belt and start to leave. I’m a couple of steps behind the RS when I notice a trail of red wine following one of our bags. I panic and run up to him pointing frantically but trying not to draw attention to ourselves (fat chance- quite a few Westerners walked by, bemused to say the least). The RS also panics and looks around desperately as though the answer of what to do will jump out from anywhere. It does, in the form of the men’s bathroom.
Let me reiterate that alcohol is illegal in Kuwait. If you’re caught, nine times out of ten, nothing happens. The security guys usually just take it, give you a bit of a sneer and let you go on through. I’d heard they kept the bottles for themselves or sold them. On that tenth occasion, however you might get carted off to prison and then your school director has to come bail you out in the middle of the night, in his jammies, not feeling too happy (happened to a friend, not a personal account).
So the RS dashes off to the bathroom, leaving a trail of wine behind him. I moved as far away from the puddle that had formed while we were deciding what to do and tried to look as shocked as everyone else. The smell seemed to fill the whole room!
Finally he comes back and reports that there was only a pinprick hole- it must’ve been laying just at the edge of the bag so that it was leaking directly out onto the ground. “I contemplated trying to drink the whole thing,” he says. “It seems like such a waste.” Had had, in fact, dumped the whole bag down the toilet.
We made it out of the airport without incident, despite reeking of red wine. I don’t know if no one was paying attention or they didn’t care or they were pretending not to know what red wine smelled like, but no one even batted an eye. To this day, I wonder if we could have just turned the bag around so the hole was at the top, risked a couple of wine stains on some clothes, and gotten through… better safe than sorry, I suppose.
|Me and the Rugby Star when we were just babies, not even married yet!|