Ok, let me be totally upfront. My time in Frankfurt wasn’t really an adventure, but it was very indicative of international travel and some of the crazy (and funny) stuff that can happen to you.
I actually saw Frankfurt twice, but both times were so brief it wasn’t even like being there. The first time was because I had to transfer from my flight from Kosovo to the plane that was going to London. The second time was because I was leaving after my eleven city tour of Europe was over and headed back to the United States. Frankfurt was the departure point. I’m going to share with you about the first time I dropped in.
We woke up early that morning, around 3:30 am. We had to catch a 6:00 am flight and we were an hour away from the Pristina airport in Kosovo. After a crazy cab ride that felt like the Daytona 500 we made our flight to Frankfurt.
Immediately after landing we taxied to our spot on the runway and I was immediately irritated. Sometimes when you fly on international flights you step off the flight, walk down a set of stairs, step directly onto the runway, then get on a large bus so they can drive you to the terminal.
Walking onto the runway so we could get on a bus was novel the first few times I did it, but now it gets on my damn nerves. I’ve flown so often in this business that I am easily annoyed when I have to travel. And stopping on the runway just adds in a bunch of unnecessary steps that tick me off. In the United States, I have only stepped onto the runway to get on a plane in the rarest of circumstances. It usually only happens if you are getting on a very small plane and going somewhere that has a very small airport.
So, I’m immediately annoyed. Then the bus drives around and under the Frankfurt airport for at least ten minutes just so we can get to customs and get our bags. Annoyance number two.
Annoyance number three happened when we got through customs, picked up our bags , and realized that we were going to have to go through airport security again (!) in order to board our flight to London.
After another super enjoyable wait in another long line (is that sarcasm I detect?), Kevin, Bart and I finally make it to the checkpoint to go through the body scanners and have our bags x-ray’ed. Kevin goes first and Kevin is told that they are going to have to manually inspect his bag. I go second and am told they are going to have to manually inspect my bag. Bart goes last and is told they are going to have to manually inspect his bag. We’re batting three for three.
At this point in the process all of my annoyances are starting to get humorous to me. Kevin, Bart, and I were all standing in a single file line as the happiest airport security agent I’ve ever seen starts to go through our bags. He starts with Kevin’s.
“Sir, do you have any liquids in the bag?” he asks. “Liquids? No. No liquids.” says Kevin. Five seconds later the security guy holds up a large clear plastic container of shampoo/soap. As he is lifting it in the air, he smiles and, in the most amused sounding German accented English, asks, “What is this? What is this?”
That’s when I said, “Yeah Kevin, what is that?” I thought Kevin was going to poop himself. He looked shocked. He stammered and muttered something about that not being his normal travel bag as the security agent told him that he would have to throw the container of shampoo away.
I was up next. The super happy security agent opened my bag and started going through all my stuff. What I haven’t explained to you, dear reader, was that my entire show was packed in this carry on bag. So, this guy is taking out all sorts of interesting props. He’s looking at all of them until his curiosity finally gets the best of him and he finally asks, “What do you do?”
I’ll be honest with you. I had rehearsed my answer to this question. I was fully prepared to tell anyone who asked that I was a comedian there to do some shows. Why tell them I’m a comedian, you ask? Because of what happened next.
Instead of telling the guy that I’m a comedian, I tell him the truth…that I’m a magician. He very excitedly asks, “You do magic? You do magic?” I said, “Yep.” And he said, “You do magic for me!” I looked at the crazy long line of people behind him that I had just been standing in a few minutes before and ask, “Right now?” And he said, “Yes! Right now!”
So I did. I took out a deck of cards and proceeded to do a card trick for this guy while I’m sure that the people standing in line who could see what I was doing were wondering why the security agent was watching a card trick while they were waiting to get through airport security.
At the climax of the trick, the guy almost squealed he was so happy. Then he looked at me and said, “This is why I love my job! I get to meet so many interesting people!” That did it for me. Any frustration that I had from that day’s travel was instantly gone.
The truth is, that’s the exact reason I do magic…to give people a wonderful moment in their day. I never know when I’m going to be given the opportunity to be a much needed bright spot in someone’s day. It was nice to be reminded of that.
That got me through security. Bart was the only one left. And after a few minutes of security guards asking him why he had so much electronics in his bag (for the show) we all got through the Frankfurt airport security and made our flight to London.