Dragon leaves for Germany on Friday. This leads us to reminiscing about other travel adventures she has had in her time at IBM. This includes the peanut butter adventures from China ’11.
The first time Dragon went to China, she went in “blind” as we like to say. She had no idea what it would be like or how to prepare for the changes in…just about everything. When she returned, she could no longer eat American versions of Chinese food unless they mix in enough chili paste to burn the average intestinal tract into oblivion.
She also said that she needed to bring food with her so that she could have a balance between the spicy and the fake McDonald’s her coworkers insist on eating.
So when she was to go back in 2011, she took a box of Oatmeal Squares and some Twizzlers, the first two foods anyone would choose, obviously. Around the corner from her hotel was an Americanized grocery store filled with staples, including peanut butter, that she could use for dietetic balance. It worked well for her, She could put it on crackers and bread and this helped her feel comfortable. Of course, she couldn’t eat an entire jar of peanut butter in two weeks so she packed it up to bring home.
She had no trouble on the flight from Beijing to Chicago and didn’t think twice about it for the 14-hour flight. But when she arrived in Chicago, the TSA agent in customs became very grave about her backpack.
“Um, ma’am? Can you please come with me?” shortly after the backpack went through the x-ray scanner. “We found something concerning in your carry on and we’re going to need you to go through and retrieve/explain it.”
At this point, Dragon says she had no idea what in the world he was talking about. “There’s a concerning container,” he said. She was totally confused. “And the texture appeared dangerous.” So she’s going through her bag and finally comes to the jar of peanut butter and felt relieved. “Oh! It’s just peanut butter!” she said, thinking this would cease the concern.
“I’m going to need you to open that,” he said, “and taste that for me.” At this point, she realized that he believed her to be a threat, that the peanut butter was actually an explosive device. She dipped her finger in the jar and tasted it. “Okay, thank you. Now throw it away,” he instructed her.
“I mean, you don’t screw around with TSA in customs or anything,” she recounted to me later. “But maybe we could use a little bit of profiling when trying to discern between PB and bombs.” So, we’re going to play a bit of a game. Peanut butter? Or bomb?
Too obvious. He’s a ringer. Bomb.
In any case, Dragon will not be taking food with her to Germany. “It’s Germany. Most of it is bland and bread anyway.”
But what, for the love of all things holy, ARE YOU GOING TO PUT ON THE BREAD?!?
“Explosives,” Dragon said.
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