Monday, November 15, 2004

Food police

I took my parents to the new Air and Space museum near Dulles airport. I wanted to show them the space shuttle, my dad wanted to see the Concorde.
Before we can enter we have to pass a bag inspection. A routine procedure in the post 9/11 world, except that the guard does not seem to be looking for weapons. He concentrates on the food that I've packed in my bag. "No food is allowed in the museum" he says. I don't want to go back to the car to put the food back and I can think of at least one excuse not to. "My dad has diabetes" I say, "He needs to be able to eat on a short notice". This is a semi truth. My dad has diabetes but he has just assured me that he was fine and that he would be OK for another hour or so. I know next to nothing about this disease. I trust he'll be ok.
The guard is not completely convinced. I'm not sure how much he knows about diabetes. "It seems like a lot of food", he says, "I'll understand a little bit but you've pack a whole meal".
I'm not sure what to say. I did packed what I thought will be good for the road: yogurt, bread, olives, fruits, chocolate, tofu patties: indeed a full lunch...
"I can't know in advance if he'll be very hungry or not", I venture, hoping that he will let me pass. I try hard to appease him "I'll close the food bag, see?" I tightened the knot in front of him. "We will come back outside to eat if need be." I force my French accent.
He seems happy of the solution and let us in with enough food to feed a small army. My dad has understood nothing of the exchange. He is only impressed by the security at the entrance.

Later in the museum I see a family who also smuggled some food. A kid about 3 year old is clinching to his mother as she is giving him some food that he pop into his mouth quickly. She says "Munch with your mouth closed so nobody will notice!". His cheeks are big and he nods seriously while moving his jaws up and down. We are all on the run from the food police...


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