The Banishment of the What-If Corkscrew

Corkscrew, 3.75 inches, from Trondheim, Norway assembled (photo by Sheila Scarborough)That’s it.

When I fly, the What-If Corkscrew has got to come out of my toiletries kit.

It’s a cool little shiny chromed gadget that I bought in a decorative arts museum gift shop in Trondheim, Norway….because, you know, “what if” I was ever traveling and bought a wonderful bottle of local wine and wanted to be able to open and drink it on a picnic?

The corkscrew was my metal passport to a travel dream, but I guess I’ll have to do without, go screw-top or drink a beer instead.

It’s a cleverly constructed device – you unscrew the metal tube covering the corkscrew part and insert the tube bit into the hole in the curved bottle opener part, and voilà; a little corkscrew with handle, all ready for Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia or a green spot in Christchurch, New Zealand or a celebration tucked behind a corner in Venice.

The same innocent bit of swirly, curvy, just-in-case-I-get-a-bottle-of-wine metal is causing way too many hand-searches of my luggage at TSA security checkpoints. I can always tell when they’ve gotten to my stuff; the X-ray observer stops the conveyor belt and peers for an extended time at my carry-on suitcase (you know I will not check luggage these days.)  Staff can usually figure out on the display screen that it’s a small corkscrew, but often a lot of Latex’d hands end up poking about in my toiletries kit.

Corkscrew from Trondheim ready for action (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Yesterday at Dulles International Airport was the last straw; a full unpacking of my suitcase while they tried to find the cause of the X-ray screener’s consternation. It’s been awhile since the corkscrew caused any problems, so I’d forgotten about having it in my bag. On their Sharp Objects List, the TSA does allow scissors with blades less than four inches (my corkscrew is 3.75 inches long, total) so I feel that my gadget is within parameters, and I’m fine with appropriate security measures.

Fortunately I’m a pretty tidy packer and don’t have any embarrassing items in my suitcase, so I don’t really mind having everything spread all over (plus it gave me time to put my shoes back on) but what if I’d been in a huge hurry to catch a flight?  Shouldn’t I also relieve the TSA of the need to worry over my wine bottle opener so they can spend time look for more threatening bad guys? It is time to stop taking it when I fly.

But, “what if?”

That wine….that dream of a sybaritic picnic-y moment in some park somewhere….of being able to say, “Oh, don’t worry, I have a corkscrew right here!”

I need to pack that dream away, just like I’ve packed away ideas like checking luggage, having actual meals on the plane, bringing a bottle of water to the airport, wearing whatever shoes or belts I want, packing any normal-sized bottle of liquid in a carry-on, etc.

True confessions – in the nine years I’ve owned it, I’ve never actually bought a bottle of wine and needed that corkscrew.  The dream is, unfortunately, more hassle than it is worth in today’s air travel environment.

If you see me picnicking in your local park someday, bring over your corkscrew and a bottle of wine to revive my dream, will you?

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  1. Rigoberto Irigoyen November 29, 2010
  2. Michael August 4, 2012

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