What’s In Your Pocket?

Several times in the last few days, I’ve had the opportunity to take inventory of all of the stuff I carry around in my pockets. Here is what I typically found:

  • A leather wallet, pretty beaten up at this point.
  • A Jockery iPhone charger, orange.
  • An iPhone charging cable, heavily duct-taped from overuse.
  • One Chapstick tube, half-used.
  • Three quarters.
  • My iPhone 6, with a nice diagonal crack running down one corner of the screen.
  • My reading glasses, which I pretty much have to carry with me everywhere I go now, especially if I want to know what I am ordering from the menus.
  • One almost-filled Field Notes notebook, Country Fair edition, Virginia, blue.
  • One black pen, for writing notes in the notebook.
  • One blue pen, for signing things.

The last four items on the list were in may shirt pocket. One thing not in my pockets was my keys. Being on vacation means not having to carry my keys around at all times, which is nice.

I thought about the stuff in my pocket because I’ve had to take it all out of my pocket at least twice over the last two days. Entering the Disney parks, people are randomly selected for secondary security screenings, and I’ve been selected twice.

As a side-note, I’d like to point out that Disney likely picked up this safety precaution from the airlines. If so, it wasn’t a fair deal. The airlines clearly haven’t picked up the excellent customer service Disney extends to its guests.

When you go through the security lines you have to empty your pockets into a bedpan. I call it a bedpan that’s what it looks like, though I doubt the Disney people would agree. “Anything with metal,” they say, but who wants to be pulled aside for a tertiary screening (read: pat-down) because the ink in the pen you have in your pocket happens to contain trace amounts of some metal?

Then there is the question of whether or not my sunglasses would set off the metal detectors. So they go into the bedpan, too. It takes about 20 seconds to empty my pockets. It takes about 2 seconds for me to walk through the metal detector, and another 20-30 seconds to load my pockets again.

The security people at Disney were always friendly, and didn’t look annoyed in the least. Even so, I couldn’t help looking mildly annoyed as I emptied first my left pants pocket, then my right, then the two lower pockets, and finally my shirt pocket and sunglasses. It seemed to amuse the security people. It was like the clowns-from-the-car routine. I was entertaining them!

I think it would be fascinating to spend a day at these inspection tables and see the kinds of things people pull out of their pockets. A sociologist could probably tell a lot about a culture simply by watching what appears in those bedpans.

It would be better, of course, if we had no need for these screenings in the first place.


  1. Wow! That’s a lot to carry around all the time. 🙂 I need to start carrying reading glasses too, but I don’t have any shirts with a pocket, and it’s not convenient to carry glasses in my pants pocket. Was thinking about getting one of those cords to hang them around my neck. Then I will look like an old fart! LOL

  2. Security screening is pretty much standard here in Israel. Every entrance to a train station, mall and most office buildings have security guards with metal detectors. I’ve become pretty efficient. I’m already taking my camera bag and laptop bag off my shoulders for the x-ray machine/physical inspection and hauling my keys and phone out of my pockets before I arrive at the security checkpoint.

    You don’t have a lot of choice but to get the partial strip down to a few seconds because there are usually a dozen or more impatient people waiting behind you and in a hurry to get somewhere (there is a running joke that there is actually a word for “patience” in Hebrew because Israelis seem to lack that quality).

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