So, I asked him, “Do you have any weapons?” before we left the house. Why? Because Thom likes to be prepared and that, at the very least, means a swiss army knife is on his person at all times and could also mean that he has a knife or two in as well owing to his Idahoan “survival” mentality for the many years we lived there in the woods. Thank God he had to give up the guns when we moved to China. Having grown up in NYC, he was elated to get some firepower to protect his family in the wilderness when we moved to Idaho…latent mountain man that he is. Knowing his love of being prepared, I got him a “survival tool” this Christmas with lots of handy uses all in a small metal square including a very sharp edge, similar to a box cutter. WTF—this is not something you need on an airplane, right? Who knew he would stash it in his wallet and forget about it. Now, that could be considered a weapon by many TSA agents, right? Prompting a strip search and possibly being led away and never returning in a foreign land, right?
As I breezed through security at Shanghai Pudong Airport and looked around, Thom was getting the second degree from a security agent. He was emptying his wallet, shrugging his shoulders & playing the “foreign card” of innocence while the gal and guy argued over what she saw on the xray screen of his possessions.. “There! There! In the wallet!” the gal insisted in Mandarin, of course, while Thom looked around innocently. Finally, behind the business cards, credit cards, etc. Thom pulled out the offensive weapon-his Christmas “survival” gift. Luckily, they just confiscated it and we quickly left the area, really ran, before he had to “bend and snap”. Of course, they probably flagged his ass from now on he will get the ultra deluxe pat down with the anal probe for future flights but for now, we were on our way to Vietnam, weaponless.
Up to the VIP lounge we went because I had splurged on business class for us to travel, not knowing how bad coach would be on Vietnam Airlines. After all, the seat selection choices included “window smoking with infant”, so I expected the worst. The VIP lounge was lovely and Thom spent his time lounging in the Oswaga massage chair where he whimpered with delight as it kneaded and heated his back that is always in need of attention. If that wasn’t heaven enough, he then went to the bathroom where he found his beloved TOTO-heated seat and all. No toliet has ever been loved and revered as much as TOTO. Really, it’s a miracle we ever made it to Vietnam at all. Thom would have been happy living in the VIP Lounge for a few days, alternating between massage and TOTO.
But I pried his ass out of the massage chair, which was occupied by a waiting passenger as soon as we looked like we were leaving, and we were off for the flight to Hanoi….business class. BIG MISTAKE! Now, Thom knows what it’s like and it will be impossible for him to go back to economy on those long hauls to the US while I am flying business class courtesy of my company when I am truly on business. I told him it was no big deal but his eyes bugged out with the fine china, 3 forks/2 knives/3 spoons for all those delicious courses of food starting with tuna/salmon/fish and moving onto delicious pork and chocolate mousse. DAMN! What was I thinking?? And if the food wasn’t enough, the free Western magazines and hot towels clinched the deal. Having one attendant service his every needs took his pampering to a whole new level. Thank God they didn’t massage his feet, though he took off his shoes just in case they offered. Blanket? Water? Coffee? Tea? Private bathroom? Why, yes please, Thom now wants all those things. Of well, you only live once so you might as well travel in style if you can. And he’s worth it.
As I sipped my Taihitian Cocktail,or as I call it “a beach in a glass”, I allowed myself to appreciate the many blessings in my life including travelling with Thom. You just never know what he will do next but I am guaranteed he will always make me laugh.