While my guitar gently weeps (Part 5)

on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”:

Part 1: Preparations

Part 2: Pearson International Airport

Part 3: Interlude

Part 4: Poker face

Part 5:

Conscience weighs on my shoulders

I smiled gratefully, took another deep breath, and went through the security door. Showing my boarding pass, I took my guitar and backpack off my back and placed on the x-ray belt. Then I went through the metal detector, turning around all the while to wave at my friend, winking and wincing like someone who knows she’s doing something wrong, and enjoying it. That’s my poker face.

After I went thorough the metal detector, the security guard took my guitar off the x-ray machine and said loud and clear: “Ma’am, your guitar…” I stared at him, waiting for more. “Ma’am, your guitar… is not allowed” Or: “Ma’am, your guitar… has been aprehended, please come with me!” Or yet: “Ma’am, your guitar… must be checked in. You’ll have to pay a thousand-dollar fee!”

But instead, all I got was: “Ma’am, your guitar. Have a good trip!”

Duty free

How strange. The security people (who are generally the fussiest of all) did not know of the rule that you can’t take a guitar on board. I waved once again at my friend (adding this time a smiling thumbs up all’s well) e proceeded towards the boarding gate.

A bit further along on my right, I could see an Air Canada information counter. On my left, a giant Duty Free store, so filled with entrances and exits that it looked more like an open fair than with a closed store. I did not hesitate. I don’t even like Duty Frees in general, but as the Air Canada counter had three attendants and zero clients, I decided to take no risk. The labyrinth formed by the Duty Free counters served me as perfect camouflage.

The final gate

Having survived yet this danger safe and sound (actually, more safe than sound), I walked through a row of waiting areas until I got to my boarding gate. Throughout this trajectory, I saw at least three other guitar carriers. How strange. Didn’t they know that guitars are not allowed on board? Or was their poker face simply so much better than mine? I couldn’t tell.

I arrived at my gate with plenty of time to spare. So I decided to call my parents in Brasilia to say that all was well.


4 responses to “While my guitar gently weeps (Part 5)

  1. I can’t believe I missed this story! Wait until I tell Alan – an AC employee – that guitars are not allowed as carry on… It would come as a shock since we made sure to go to the AC employee website to find out if we could bring his guitar from Spain…

    It’s true that you are not allowed to bring it on board in certain aircraft because they wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin… but I’m pretty sure a 767 is not one of those!

  2. The overhead bin had plenty of space… narrow was the check-in employee´s mind (and her manager´s…)

  3. What a story. I found your Website browsing for information on how I can get my instruments overseas, and you wont believe what happened to me. Basically I had the same experiences at check-in, only that instead of the crying part, the agent almost started yelling at me, for I was quite persistent. Well, after having cleared the same poker-face way as you have, guess how surprised I was to find the same man from the check-in at the last gate! His eyes almost fell out when he saw me with my guitar, and finally died he yell how I lied to him, but I probably blushed so bad he got worried about my health. Despite his anger at me, he still let me through. But what an embarassment!

  4. Hi, Florian, welcome to the page,

    So it´s not just me, huh? And there´s more…

    Tune in for the rest of the story!


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