Breaking Bad: The Belt Buckle Version

Posted on September 19, 2012


What with all the recent antics involving Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and the rise in women being encouraged to eat their placentas after giving birth, I totally forgot about one of the most memorable airport experiences I had on this most recent trip to Turkey. It occurred on the first leg of my journey, at Dulles, Washington DC (really the far off suburbs), standing in line behind a young family: dad, mom, baby.

Out in the world, I like to start conversations with young moms, in which I say profound things like “How old is the baby? He/she/it reminds me of my grandson, who is one/three.” The young mom then tells me the age of the baby and usually offers some other gem like “He/she/it is big/small for his/her/its age.” (I have never heard a young mom tell me her baby is normal weight). I then counter with “Each of my grandsons was so big that they had to make new weight charts for them.” Our relationship has now been solidified.

If time allows, we may discuss potty training, nursing, labor and delivery, crawling/walking.  I always speak only about my daughter and grandsons, because my own children were raised at a time in which we now know that everything we did was bad and wrong, if not worse.

So, back to Dulles.  I was in the midst of developing a close, personal relationship with the young mom in front of me, as we inched closer to the luggage scanner and the metal detector that would start its odious beeping at the detection of the vast amount of metal in my body.

Anticipating my usual pat down, I barely heard the TSA person remind everyone to remove their belts.  The young mom looked down, and, while still holding the baby, undid her large, brass belt buckle, and, with one hand, yanked the belt away from her body.

As if in slow motion, I watched the belt move in a graceful arc away from her body, and, like a recently graduated, jobless child, come back around to the place it started, then continue in an upward arc and slam in a very non-balletic way into the underside of my chin. I’d say I saw stars, but this was more like an entire constellation.  My hand flew up to my face, and I was surprised that

my chin was still located below my mouth.  I probably grunted and doubled over, but I don’t recall.  Whatever I did, it got the young mom’s attention.  It’s tough to fully experience a medical emergency and a shocked, contrite, horrified response while conveyor belts and luggage are whizzing by, shoes are being flung around, and TSA types are barking orders.  All I could croak out was “It’s OK, don’t worry about me,” as she and the baby disappeared beyond the security area and rushed off to their departure gate.

By the time I got onto the plane, I could no longer feel the lower half of my face.  By the time the plane landed my chin was black.  The bruise is now gone and all that’s left is to photoshop all the pictures of me taken in Istanbul. While I’mat it, I might take off 10 lbs as a reward for pain and suffering.