Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Dogged by TSA rules



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But since the crackdown on all liquids, gels, creams and personal lubricants, things have eased up a bit. I’m informed by Transportation Security Administration — Motto: Guilty until proven innocent — I can carry travel-size toiletries on board as long as they’re in containers of no more than three ounces and provided they are housed in a single, quart-size, clear plastic, zip-top bag.

This presents some very clear and perplexing problems. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I travel with oodles of toiletries. A stick of deodorant, a tube of toothpaste and I’ll be happy to use whatever my parents have in the way of shampoo, thank you very much.

But the one-quart, clear plastic, zip-top bag is giving me some problems. One of my consolations to the three “Rs” of modern life — reduce, reuse, recycle in case you were still stuck in readin’, ’ritin’ and ’rithmetic nostalgia — is a whole cupboard full of zip-top plastic bags I wash, dry and reuse over and over again. It goes without saying the tortilla bags, both flour and corn, the Green Giant corn bags, and the peanuts-in-the-shell bags are out of the question. They have commercial printing all over them, obviously failing the “clear” test.

The other odd assortment of bags are either way bigger than quarts or, if they’re more or less that size are tinged the nicest color of blue and might too fail the “clear” test.

I’ve scoured both Nesters and IGA and I’m here to tell you, quart-size zip-top bags don’t exist in Canada. We’re a metric country!

I found a box of Glad — gratuitous plug — sandwich bags in the cupboard. Their size is listed as 16.8cm x 14.9cm. Even I know these are linear measurements and quart is a volume measurement. Carumba!

So I called the 800 number listed on the box.

“Can you tell me if 16.8cm x 14.9cm sandwich bags are anywhere near a quart.”

“What’s a quart?”

“It’s what Americans call a litre, more or less.”

“So you want to know the volume of a sandwich bag?”

“Well, yes. You have to admit ‘sandwich’ isn’t exactly a uniform unit of measurement what with your 12 inch and six inch Subways, crustless tea sandwiches, not to mention Rubens, pastramis and pitas.”

Silence ensued, punctuated only by static-enhanced hold music which made me long for silence.

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