01 January 2009


Heading out to Sin City today, lounging in an airport for multiple wasted hours of my life. Sitting here in view of the geniuses employed by TSA reminds me of a story I haven't told about being stuck in Chicago during the New Hampshire Ice Storm of 2008. (Sorry for the capitalization, I've seen too many year end summary shows where everything is Made Extremely Important By Capital Letters.) After being told I wasn't going to get home that night, I waited on hold for quite a while and finally got re-booked on the first flight out the next morning.

Arriving back at the airport, I found out I could not check myself in because I no longer had an electronic ticket and got lectured by the agent about "When you change your ticket..." Somehow, she was not especially sympathetic to the fact that I did not want to change my ticket, I wanted to be home. Upon arriving at the security check-point, I'm told that I have to go through extra security screening because "You bought a last minute ticket." Again, no sympathy for the fact that I had nothing to do with the ticket change, just a lecture about not having to go through the alien anal probe if I bought my ticket in advance.

I was personally escorted through a maze of walls and doors where my ID and boarding pass were handed to the next agent. I guess they were afraid I might make a break for it and everyone knows that if a wannabe cop is holding your driver's license, you're as good as locked up. After taking all my carry-on baggage away, I get my shoes and coat off when the guy tells me I have to put my shoes back on then step into the booth which resembles a combination of a telephone booth and an MRI machine and looks about that comfortable. "Stand on the foot prints. Do not move until the doors open." This is when I learn that I should've probably gone to a spray tan booth before traveling because I'd probably be a lot less startled when I'm suddenly hit from 360 degrees by sharp puffs of air. Yes, I got sniffed for explosives because I'm a danger due to my late ticket and I probably convinced them I wasn't a terrorist just by jumping about 3 feet when the air hit me. Finally, the doors open and I'm led off to an individual screening area where I have to take off my shoes, all my bags are individually swabbed for explosives, and I'm checked with the wand. Fun, fun, fun.

After all that, I have to think that it seemed like a relatively silly display of inconvenience more than making me feel secure. If I wanted to do something to a flight, I wouldn't buy a last minute ticket. I would be the world's most OCD terrorist, they could probably find me just by looking to see who checked on the flight 657 times in the 12 hours before take-off and look for the woman checking all her pockets for anything she forgot to pack to head to Heaven, Nirvana, or wherever terrorists think they're going.

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