Just like that little indiscretion in the Garden Of Eden, this one began with an apple.
We were busy packing last week before heading to the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, when one of us — no names, please — dropped an apple into her carry-on bag.
It had been complementary at the resort and she planned to eat it before boarding a Delta flight back to Charleston, via Atlanta.
Then she forgot all about it.
The apple remained in her carry-on through Mexican security and enjoyed the flight to the States. Life got a bit more difficult when we arrived in Atlanta and began our trek through Customs.
She was filling out a declarations form when she read something about food.
Now, if I had been filling it out, I would have marked “No” because I didn't know there was an apple traveling with us.
But when she filled it out, and perhaps noted there was a $10,000 fine for lying, she said something like: “Oh, wait. Wait. I've got an apple. I forgot all about it.” And she produced a beautiful, red, delicious-looking apple.
The agent didn't seem too concerned, but told her to claim it on the form and take it to another agent sitting at a counter.
He took the apple, checked our passports, then gave her passport back and put mine in a clear plastic bag, along with the apple.
Carrying the bag, he told us to follow him.
We went to another desk.
This agent looked at the bag and our passports, whispered something to the first agent, then told us to take the bag to another agent.
We did. The other agent took the bag with two fingers, holding it in front of her, and handed it off to yet another agent.
That one also held the bag at arm's length, as if we were bringing in a radioactive apple or, worse, an apple laced with cocaine.
Finally, she gave the bag to an agent at the entrance to the Customs area. He removed the apple, dropped it in a waste bin and returned my passport to me.
It was then that I realized my boarding pass to Charleston was missing. I had kept it in my passport, but it was no longer there. Talk about panic.
I turned and began racing back through Customs, but was quickly stopped by a whole different agent.
No, she told me, you can't go back. You can get a duplicate around the corner. Just keep going.
OK. So finally.
Finished with Customs and its myriad agents, we got in line behind hundreds of other passengers for a final security check as we changed planes.
This time, one of us caught a small break. Because I'm over 75, I didn't have to remove my shoes. She did. Sorry, Babe.
Contact Bob Bestler at email@example.com.