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  • One thing I miss a lot about living in Santa Barbara is the airport. It’s a small airport, and I lived very close to it, so most of the time I would just sling my backpack over my shoulders, ride my bike, lock it up and catch my flight. The airport was so small that I could show up 15-20 minutes before my flight go through security and walk right onto the tarmac to the plane. And since Santa Barbara is a very wealthy little enclave, nearly all airlines fly out of there. One story best exemplifies why I loved this airport.

    While at UCSB I was the ‘coach’ of the Model Arab League team (kinda like Model UN, but only the Arabs), and the team would travel to different schools to do their thing. The first conference I went to with the team was at San Francisco State. The students were all driving up there, but I decided to fly. The time for my flight arrives, and my roommate drives me to the airport, and along the way I load a pipe-full of weed and we smoke. I arrived at the terminal maybe fifteen minutes before my flight, but no problems, I checked in my bags and there was no line for security.

    However, when I pass through the metal detector, the bells go off. The security guy tells me to empty my pockets, and when I reach into my left hand front pant pocket, I feel the pipe. In a complete stoner move, when I had got out of the car at the airport I had by instinct slipped the pipe into my pocket. There was nothing I could do, so I just took out the pipe and put it in the bowl.

    The security guy paused and started at the pipe in disbelief. He looked up at me stunned and asked if I had any more drugs on me. I told him I didn’t have any drugs, only an empty pipe. And that was true, I didn’t have any drugs on me. Now if they were to look in my checked baggage… but I wasn’t about to be that honest. He gave me a thorough pat down, and then called the real police, and quickly two of Santa Barbara’s finest appeared. The one who did all the talking was a middle-aged Hispanic, and he seemed to get a good laugh at my predicament.

    One thing I have learned in life is if I make a big screw-up, which happens a lot, don’t only take ownership of it and admit it, but be really really hard on yourself. More often than not, by the end the other person will probably say “Hey, it ain’t that bad.” And this is what I did with the cops. “Like a complete idiot, I was getting stoned in the car driving over here and I put the pipe in my pocket! What a stupid stoner move! And I’m flying up to San Francisco to supervise students for a weekend! Ha a dumbshit! Now I’m going to miss my plane and not be there and have to explain myself to the department and what a stupid fucking idiot move!” The cop laughed and asked again if I had anything else on me, and I said no, just an empty pipe, (please don’t check my check-in please don’t check my check-in) and he told me to get my stuff and catch my plane. I thanked him profusely, but surely there was no way my plane had not left, I had already missed the time it was supposed to leave.

    I put on my shoes and socks and gathered my bag and dashed to the gate, and as I approached the gate someone asked me if I was supposed to catch this flight, they were waiting for me, and I dashed out onto the plane.

    So I arrived 15-20 minutes before the flight, got busted going through security, had to deal with the police, and still made my flight, indeed, they were holding it for me. That is why I loved that airport, and miss it every time I fly.


    'A' marks my old apartment.
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