Of TSA Agents and Travels with Molly/Mary by Molly MacDonald

Ink Spots

Sep 15
Of TSA Agents and Travels with Molly/Mary by Molly MacDonald via @scottmacnotes #travels #TSA #agents

Travel by air is never boring. At least, not for me. Some readers may recall I wrote about losing my wallet in Los Angeles last spring, just before flying home from LAX. I always carry my wallet in a pocket, rather than in a purse, because that just seems handier.

Not so much, though, when wallet and pocket fail to meet.

When that happened in Los Angeles, I had no way to prove my identity. I had to be interviewed by several dozen TSA agents, answer about 481 questions involving my ancestry, date of birth, date of my first tooth, grandmother’s nickname (if any, and if none, why not?), and other assorted questions.

I managed to answer one and all and was, finally, allowed to board my flight. The TSA agents were really nice and waved wildly when I departed. I think a couple of them were actually a little teary-eyed. After all, they had gotten to know more about me than they knew about their own mothers, so there was a lovely bond there.

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago when I flew to Vermont to spend time with my sister, Sheila, at her lake home. We had a wonderful time, as we always do when the Sullivan sisters get together.

All went well until I was to board my return flight and discovered my wallet was not in my pocket but back at Sheila’s cottage, two hours away.

O bother, as Winnie the Pooh would say.

Sheila was appalled, but, not to worry, I assured her I knew just what to do. Why wouldn’t I? This was the same song, second verse.

And so, once again, I was interviewed by numerous TSA agents, asked the same questions as before (minus date of my first tooth and my grandmother’s nickname – I may have made those up). As is always the case with official documents, my name caused consternation. My birth certificate, driver’s license, and credit cards say “Mary” but my social security card and everything else says “Molly.”

I explained to the nice TSA agent that my parents wanted to name me Molly but the priest who was going to baptize me said it wasn’t a saint’s name. “But it’s the Gaelic for Mary,” my mother said. He wouldn’t budge, so I was Mary officially but was never called that.

The TSA agent took all that in, then relayed the information by phone to her supervisor, and by the time she got to the end of the story, she told him with great indignation, “And Molly is the Gaelic for Mary but the priest wouldn’t accept that!” I was happy to have her in my corner!

When the powers that be decided I really was who I claimed to be, and Molly and Mary were the same person, I rushed to the gate just in time to catch my flight.

You probably don’t want to try this next time you fly. For one thing, if you have children, they’re liable to send you texts in all capital letters along the lines of, “MOM, GET A PURSE!!!” When five children send the same message, it gets a little tiresome. And boring.

Unlike traveling with no identification.

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