The two lives of a Chișinău airport security guard

This is not going to be a well-developed or witty post. It is purely for the sake of our own memory. Our recent experience at the Chișinău airport was not emotional enough to be etched in our memories, but it was certainly endearing enough to be worth remembering. Hence the post in this blog of our Eastern European memories.

Daniel and I were at the Chișinău airport on the way to a vacation with friends. We were feeling relaxed. We had the luxury of checking a large suitcase between the two of us, leaving only light backpacks for us to carry through the airport. Arriving at the airport with plenty of time gave us no need to rush. We went through passport control without any problems and we were waiting in the security line. (By line – I mean there was a mother/grandmother/toddler/baby in front of us.)

So here is where the memory keeping begins. Mom (from the group in front of us) was already going a million miles an hour. We saw her at passport control and she was frazzled there. At security she was doing too many things at once – clearly flustered. She was pushing a toddler in a stroller, and Grandma was carrying a baby. While we were watching this poor mom, a female security officer came from behind us in line. She walked up to the grandmother and took the baby – with nothing more than a word or two. The grandmother didn’t seem concerned in the slightest. (I’m afraid I would have tried to ju-jitsu the guard if she took my baby from me like that.)

The security officer walked through the metal detector with the baby and then proceeded to rock it and fawn over it – basically forsaking any and all security duties for the care of this adorable baby. What is more, the other security officer – a man – found himself sucked into the baby cuteness vortex as well. He mostly stopped waving people through the metal detector, fully preoccupied with this small child. Meanwhile, the security officer behind the conveyor belt acted as the ultimate foil to the two baby-adoring guards. The conveyor belt guard spoke with terse words, gave incomplete information, and generally made everything feel incredibly stressful.

So Daniel and I are standing there in the middle of two opposite worlds: on one side of us the terse guard is clearly frustrated with the frazzled Grandma who is by now fumbling with the baby stroller. Other Moldovans are putting things on the conveyor belt willy-nilly and walking through the metal detector as they please. And just 10 feet away, on the other side of us, two previously stern guards are mostly wrapped around the finger of a tiny little baby – making cute faces and abandoning all decorum.

It was utterly confusing and utterly endearing; yet another example of a couple of life lessons: one being that life goes on both with and without protocol, another being that even the most severe people can melt in the presence of an adorable child.