Greetings from Gate 191

TORONTO — Got to the airport early today just in case Customs was busy. But it was actually pretty slow and I got to the front of the line in about a minute.

The agent took my passport, stamped my boarding pass and asked a few questions about where I lived, what I did. The usual stuff. Then he asked whether the town I lived in was north or south of Boston and if I ever visited the Ikea store in the next town over.

Still sleepy, I answered the questions and went about my business. Then it dawned on me a few steps later, customs agents and security officials are being extra vigilant because of the anniversary of Sept. 11. Those innocent questions were designed to catch somebody up to no good.


Then a polite woman in the security line asked me to show my hands and rubbed what looked like a white gauze pad on them that she plunked into a machine to check for traces of explosives. I was free to go a few seconds later.

If you travel often, you get used to the security routine. Sometimes it’s even amusing, the various things you see or people you encounter. But there’s definitely a little tension in the air this weekend and I’m sure that will be even more the case when I head back to Boston on Monday.

If you are heading out or heading home the next few days, stay safe.

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