Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shmear tactic

As I grabbed my luggage off the airport-security conveyor belt in Toronto this morning, a security agent called to the woman whose bag was X-rayed right after mine, having seen something suspicious.

The woman obligingly took a small plastic supermarket container out of her bag. I glanced down at it and realized what it was just at the moment she announced it to the agent. At that same moment, reading the label and hearing her voice, I had an indescribable feeling of familiarity. It was abundantly clear she was a Jewish grandma. She could have been one of my relatives.

"It's cottage cheese," she said matter-of-factly and with a hint of none-of-your-business, as if she'd been quizzed on one of her medications. "Not liquid. Cheese."

The guard let her—and her cheese—through.