"You are now free to move about the country." That's what the commercial says, anyway, and to a large extent, I feel they have it right. My family spent two and a half weeks going this way and that, making our way from California to the Chesapeake Bay. We even stopped on the way back to tag off on the Continental Divide, and were able to do it with four carry-on items and one suitcase. We needed the bag primarily to haul the ever-expanding souvenir collection back to Oaktown, but mostly we lived by our wits and the T-shirts we brought with us.
It required some planning, and some sacrifices, but we were able to deal with all the bits of arcane TSA protocol as we hopped from one region to the next. I learned that the Velcro sandals are a better choice for speeding through the line than the lace-up Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Not a big leap, but one that makes easy sense in the middle of summer. My son had to give up a half-consumed bottle of lemonade that he had left at the bottom of his backpack. He shrugged and let it go. My wife had forgotten to stow our new sunscreen in our checked bag. This also happened with the tiny Swiss Army knife that she carries with her for all manner of little tasks on the road. Whether it was the Swiss Army or the knife that was tiny, the security folks at Ronald Reagan airport weren't going to let that one slide through. Far from being cruel about it, they helped her retrieve her contraband and gave her a chance to take it back to the ticket counter to try and get it back with our checked luggage.
Alas, she was just a little too late, and we left Washington D.C. without the sunscreen or the knife. A week later, I read a story about a man who tried to get thirteen knives, including switchblades through security at Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Twenty-five-year-old Amr Gamal Shedid of Baltimore had been trying to board a flight to Minnesota. Shedid told investigators he collects knives.
Whether it was the surname or the number of knives, I'm guessing that Mister Shedid wasn't allowed to take his collection back to the ticket counter. No word on what happened to his lemonade.