Introduction:  Sometimes in your life you know irrevocably at the instant of an action or at the instant before an action that you have just done something really stupid and you are going to pay for it.  In my case it involved a camera, a picture, the Detroit Immigration authorities, missing my connecting flight to Boston, being searched and questioned.  Learn from my mistake.  Don't be this stupid.

CAMERA TROUBLE

Attn:  BangkokImageites -- here is a little story that might amuse.  It could have happened to many.  It happened to me.  Enjoy.

Introduction:  Sometimes in your life you know irrevocably at the instant of an action or at the instant before an action that you have just done something really stupid and you are going to pay for it.  In my case it involved a camera, a picture, the Detroit Immigration authorities, missing my connecting flight to Boston, being searched and questioned.  Learn from my mistake.  Don't be this stupid.

Preamble:  Ok, before I tell this story, I need to give you some routing information.  I have been flying to and from Thailand from Boston on Northwest Airlines for years.  Always the same route.  I always repeat routes if possible when I travel because I believe it cuts down on the potential for errors and mishaps.  I am not a confident traveler.  I am a paranoid traveler.

Anyway, coming home through Immigration at Detroit I then catch the flight to Boston.  Here is the challenge.  The flight to Boston out of Detroit on my route leaves so soon after your arrival in Detroit that there is no room for error or mishap.  You don't have time to tie a loose shoelace.  As soon as you burst out of Detroit Immigration like a startled bird from a burning barn there are airport staff lined up at strategic points yelling BOSTON and pointing.  

BOSTON THIS WAY.  BOSTON THIS WAY . You run like a deer.  You slalom like a skier.  You dodge and leap like a football lineman.  And no airport person stops you.  BOSTON THIS WAY.

So you do not want to lose your focus.  This is not the time to make a new friend, or to decide to trim your eyebrows in the Men's Restroom, or to fill in those new overpriced leather luggage tags you bought in Bangkok.  You've got to move.  You've got to haul . . . ok, you've got to move.  You've got to follow the instructions of the airport staff shouting BOSTON THIS WAY and you've got to become an athlete--running, and dodging, and slaloming through the crowd (ok, I already said that).  Imagine your heart beating if you are not a confident traveler.  Imagine if you are a paranoid traveler like me.  Anyway -- and most especially, extremely most especially:  you do not want to do or say anything that will call attention to yourself.  If you call attention to yourself, especially Immigration; it is the kiss of death on making your connecting flight to Boston.  Got that?

Story:  Ok BangkokImageites, now you've got the title and the introduction and the preamble.  Here is what happened.

Recently, coming back to the United States through Detroit a young U.S. Immigration inspector had never seen an old fashioned Polaroid Land Camera.  There it lay in my luggage.  Big and black and blue and silver and mysterious.  Some kind of 'device'.

 

Recently, coming back to the United States through Detroit a young U.S. Immigration inspector had never seen an old fashioned Polaroid Land Camera.  There it lay in my luggage.  Big and black and blue and silver and mysterious.  Some kind of 'device'.

"What is that?" he said.

"I'll show you."  I said.

And with that I picked it up, snapped it open, aimed it at him, pressed the button, and took his picture.  A part of a second into this, a little birdy in my brain told me that this was maybe not a good idea, but I was already committed by stupidity.  And for those of you not acquainted with the old fashioned Land cameras they make big noises.  Anyway, I picked up the 'device' and took the picture of an Immigration official.  When the picture developed he did not have a happy face.  Other Immigration officials showed up.  I ended up in a little room answering questions.  I missed my plane to Boston.  Learn from my mistake.  Not everybody loves photography all the time.  There is a time and a place for everything.