Being a well-trained little sheep, I made sure to place my my clip knife into my checked baggage. Once we landed in D.C., though, I resumed carrying it in my back pocket. It didn’t occur to me, though they’re all on the National Mall and therefore within line-of-sight of the Capitol, that the museums we were planning to visit might have developed their own flavor of post-9/11 paranoia.
At the door of the Freer Gallery, we encountered a guard whose duty it was to search Celina’s purse, using a small dowel to poke about the interior without placing her hands in jeopardy. While she went about her task, I read the sign behind her, which declared that knives, among other things, were barred from the museum.
Wanting to be a good citizen — and, I’ll admit, wanting to avoid being raped right through my pants should I later be found out — I unclipped my knife, held it out to the guard on my open palm, and asked as politely as I could if I might be permitted to check it.
She paused and said, almost apologetically, “Oh, that’s okay, sir — we only check bags.” So in spite of the sign at her back expressly forbidding it, and despite my complete willingness to check it, I would up carrying the knife through the museum, because doing otherwise would have required causing a fuss.
I really don’t know what to say.