It must be something in my personality. I am certain that everyone has moments in their life where they seem to be in a Mr. Bean comedy skit, but somehow, I think that it happens to me more often than most.
One of the reasons that I was late getting through security at JFK was that they had a new employee running the security line and pushing all the rules hard. It just seems to be my luck. The same day that I am late for a flight, they start a brand new supervisor in the security line and she wants to prove how hard ass she is.
I walked a lot while I was in Russia and ended up losing about 5 inches around my waist. One of the effects was that my pants fit like clown pants and I had to wear suspenders. I also wear a flimsy belt for neatness.
Every time I go through airport security, I have to explain that if I lose the suspenders, the pants will go with them. They then wave the magic wand at my suspenders and verify that is the only metal on me, and let me go.
This lady would have none of that nonsense. She insisted that I either had to lose the suspenders or wait until a male staff returned from lunch to do a thorough pat down. So, off they went – and my belt was already in the x-ray machine. For a moment I was certain that she was going to ask me to raise my arms, but then she saw the 4 inch gap between my pants and my belly and grudgingly let me pass.
I then put the belt on and cinched it up to the last notch and prayed my pants wouldn’t fall down. I didn’t have time to re-hook the suspenders and still make my plane, so they went into my backpack.
The run to the gate was made even more exciting by the need to balance the backpack and carryon and still have one hand free to hold my pants up. The belt would probably work, but it was a decorative one that had failed in the past.
The belt, and my spare hand, held and got to my seat safely.
About an hour into the flight, I needed to go to the bathroom. I was holding a glass with about an inch of clear water in it and there was no flight attendant in sight. So, I cleverly opened the overhead as I got up, and put the cup in the bin, figuring it was a smooth flight, so the glass was safe.
In the bathroom, I bent down to get a Kleenex from the bin and felt a sudden snap, followed by a cool breeze in places that should not get breezes. The damned belt had broken – and the suspenders were still in my backpack in the overhead bin.
I am certain that the passengers I passed on the long walk back to my seat wondered why I was doing an Al Bundy impression with one hand on my trousers, but I made it too my seat without exposing the breezy parts. Then I had a problem, my suspenders were in my backpack and it is impossible to open the overhead, browse through the backpack, and get the suspenders one handed.
Solution, stand in the aisle and do a drunken lean against the seat back to hold pants up and avoid problem exposure. Unfortunately, I was a little hurried and ended up spilling the glass of water that I had placed there earlier – onto the lap of a well dressed, “pretend high class”, woman seated in front of me. Only a few drops fell on her, but she leaped from the seat as if someone had dumped a bucket of water on her and loudly berated me and demanded promises that I would never do that again to a person like her. She was obviously upset that I would not turn to face her and make a proper apology, but that would have led to another, more serious apology, so I could only say, “Lady, I am sorry that you got water on your outfit, but right now I have bigger problems to deal with. I promise that it will never happen again.”
Of course, because of her uproar, I now had a plane full of people staring at me as I returned to the bathroom, “casually” holding up my pants with my hands in my pockets, to re-attach my suspenders.
All I needed was a director in the background to yell “Cut!”
I did get a letter back from the office of the president of Delta. They apologized, gave me a list of people to whom they had forwarded my suggestions, and gave me 20,000 additional frequent flier miles. They all thanked me for my humor. I guess that they felt that if you have to be criticized, a little humor makes it go down easier.