I can’t even begin to put into words how fucking annoyed I am right now. I’m currently in a plane, en route from Detroit to Orlando with no fresh air, sucking on an Altoid and simmering about what just happened; someone lifted my watch as I was going through security at the airport.
And actually, let me add a little context around this particular watch. Maybe a year or so ago I started looking for watches. Rhonda laughed at me. You don’t wear a watch, she said. But I’m going to, I countered. I want to start wearing one. I understood what she was saying. My logic was somewhat similar to argument some people give for holding onto clothes that they haven’t fit in to in years. Maybe one day… But understand as I did, I knew reality – I was going to start wearing a watch. So…I took on a process not dissimilar to Rhonda’s engagement ring figuring, as I did then, that homework would help me minimize the chances of getting financially skinned like might happen if I went in blind. Maybe it’s clear, but I should add – when I say I wanted a watch, I meant I planned on getting a nice one.
It was a big decision. Spending top dollar for accessory items hasn’t panned out well for me in the past. There was the $1,500 digital video camera that someone stole out of my house in 2000, while I was with Vice President Gore. That was fun. Oh yeah, they took a brand new TV too. Or take 11th grade, when I bought an $80 pair of Vuarnet sunglasses. They were cool, no doubt about it. They also lasted all of four hours before I put them in my front pocket and sat down, snapping into two perfect halves. It took years for me to finish cursing myself and be brave enough to try that whole ordeal again. The $240 Mossimos lasted maybe a year before I scratched the lenses. Fortunately when you pay that much for sunglasses, you can get lenses replaced without much of a problem. What you can’t get covered by your warranty is a new pair of glasses when you break yours in half…again…like a great big idiot. That’s when I swore off expensive shades, vowing never again to spend more than $20 on a pair. That pledge dissolved about two years ago. Since then I have ruined two pairs of $100+ Raybans and then in March I dropped $200+ on a new pair. What can I say… I’m either a slow or an impossible learner.
But a watch isn’t something I’ve ever purchased – whether cheap or expensive. But like I said, I was ready. I was ready and convinced that I could take care of a watch and if I could take care of one…well… it needed to be a nice one. That watch ended up being a Tag Heuer Aquaracer. It was the perfect fit for my life and personality as it can go with jeans and it can go dressy. I’ve taken perfect care of it in the ¾ of a year since I bought it and I’ve even considered – dare I write this – buying another watch. Maybe I should collect them, I’ve thought.
Well, fuck that. Today I have re-learned that the world is crawling with leeches that salivate at the prospect of sucking away the things that are mine. And of course I am still schizophrenic about the whole thing, equally split between never again spending money on anything that is truly unnecessary and going to the first high end watch store I find in Florida so I can buy a replacement and feel better.
Here’s the snapshot summary. I travel all the time and have a great sense on how to do it efficiently. I know which security lines are fastest, what to wear, how best to pack and I know how to process my personal items through the x-ray machines at security. I do it the same way every time. This morning I put my black suede jacket, laptop and watch in a bin, then I put my bag and shoes on the conveyor behind them. I watched them all enter the x-ray machine, then I walked through. Problem? When I was unpacking my items on the other side, my watch was missing.
It’s understandable yet no less annoying how I was treated after alerting TSA that my watch had vanished. First I was mistake. Clearly I left my watch at home. But the x-ray tape indicated that my watch had, in fact, entered the machine. Then I must have it in my jacket or bag. Four agents emptied all the contents of my computer bag onto the counter (and I carry around a lot of crap) then rescanned everything, me included. That’s right, they subjected me to a full body search and scan in a special 360 degree machine that I’ve never even seen before…all in an effort to see if I thought fucking with TSA in the 25 minutes I had to kill before my flight took off was a good idea that might yield some free goods or cash. Seriously. But alas…all the extra work did was confirm that there was no watch on me. That’s when they started to help. Kind of. Meanwhile, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that considered that the person who stole my watch was probably boarding a plane by that point. Or…or…they were standing there in a TSA uniform. Hmm…..
Of course I couldn’t hang around to chit chat, which was infuriating – I had a plane to catch. A quick police report and 30 minutes later I am airborne for Florida, watch-less, and ready to take someone’s head off. The guy next to me has a shiny little timepiece that’s bouncing reflected sunlight across my face. He’s drinking tomato juice too. What’s that all about? Disgusting.
Update: Later in the day I got this message on my phone:
“Hello Mr. Nunnery, this is Officer Boyce from the Detroit Metro Police Department. After reviewing the security video, we were able to recover your watch. You can pick it up at xxxxxxx”
As of now, I don’t know what happened. But I sure the fuck know what I think.