I could have been shot with tasers the other day, but that would have been a walk in the park compared to what might have happened yesterday! I had to go down to the American Embassy in London, which sounds exciting but it was only to get a tax number for any payments coming from the US. Anyway, Edina at Ed Victor (my literary agency) warned me that security was very tight and that they'd do searches and everything to make sure no weapons of any kind get into the Embassy.
So I went down, walked anxiously through the main gates, which were surrounded by armed police with HUGE guns, and handed my bag to the security guards who proceeded to put it through the x-ray machine. I knew something was wrong when their expressions went stern and they started pointing at the monitor. 'That's a knife,' said one, looking nervous (although not anywhere as nervous as I was looking by now).
'A what?' I said. 'A knife?' Had I actually brought a knife into the US Embassy?!?
I was expecting the police to come racing in any second to splatter me all over the walls, but fortunately the other guard on duty was a little older, and had obviously done some DIY in his time, as he pointed out that it wasn't so much a knife as a utility kit. It was basically my leatherman, which is essentially a pair of fold-up pliers with other tools attached, including a knife. It's less a killing weapon than a fixing one.
Or a bomb-making one.
I must have put it in my bag for some reason and totally forgotten about it. Anyway, after a little spluttered explanation on my part they took it away with all my other metal objects, and my phone, and locked them away, ushering me through into the main building.
So all was well in the end, but it was pretty scary!
Posted by Gordy's Blog Friday, 9 January 2009