Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The TSA and me

I have to interrupt my Philadelphia Stories travelogue and the accompanying tales of Cori and the stripper store, the pillow fights, etc., to share with my public this timely saga of what I went through yesterday as I had to navigate the juggernaut that is security at O’Hare airport. Because really, The People need to know. Here is my tale.

So of course I wind up at the airport over 2 hours early – figuring, why take chances that I’ll get stuck in security? Especially since my stated goal is to start a new rallying cry among the Cancerous yet Newly-Cleavaged among us. In other words, me and my fellow CancerChicks with our surgeries and implants and such. I imagine my phrase “Hands Off the Boobages!” sweeping the nation, taking hold in airports across America, even among those who don’t actually have Boobages. But simply because that encapsulates what this sturm und drang with flying and the TSA is really all about. The Boobages. It always comes down to the Boobages.

I’m also excited about the prospect of the new scanners. You see, ever since Dr. MerkHottie put that 7-inch-long titanium plate on my shattered collarbone 2 years ago to hold it together, I’ve been waiting for airport security somewhere to notice it and give it the attention and wariness it so rightfully deserves. But even though I’ve traveled everywhere, such as (ahem) the French Alps for my grand cycling adventure this past summer, I’ve wound up with….bupkus. Nada. Nothing. The disappointment has been crushing.

Now though, it would not be an understatement to say that my hopes are sky-high. This is my chance at fame, at glory, as I get manhandled by TSA and dragged away not only because of the Boobages, but also what appears to be a shiv on my collarbone. How could they NOT cause a fuss? I’m about to find out.

Station 1:

This is the person who checks your boarding pass against your driver’s license. I try to look sufficiently surly – maybe she’ll radio ahead and warn them there’s “someone to watch” coming through. A girl can dream.

TSA Agent 1: Good morning, how are you doing?

Hmm, she’s suspiciously chipper and friendly. I wonder what THAT’S all about? It’s clearly a trap.

Me: Great, and how are you?

TSA1: Oh, just wonderful. Let’s see, okay, you’re good to go.

Me: Thank you!

TSA1: Wait, what’s your hat say….oh my gosh, I LOVE that! That’s perfect!

She laughs uproariously at the Fuck Cancer hat. Okay, so ONE friendly TSA agent does not an agency make. I’m sure things will change soon. Oh yes.

Station 2:

I’m headed into the security line, where one has to disrobe, hand over liquids and computers, etc. I note with dismay that only some people are going through the scanner, while others just go through the regular metal detector. Noooo! This can’t be happening! I focus on looking menacing yet hopeful, threatening yet nervous, suspicious yet pleading. I must go through that scanner!

The guy 2 people before me gets the scanner – that is, after he spends 5 minutes taking everything out of his pockets. Guy before me does too. I try to crowd myself so that I’m closer to the scanner, so that it seems logical to send me through it as well, as opposed to the far-off metal detector. Surely they have a quota, right? I’m about as close to TSA Agent 2 as I can get without tripping over her.

TSA Agent 2: Are you wearing a belt?

Me, enthusiastically: No!

(I’m trying to make the decision to send me through the scanner an easy one.)

TSA2: Anything in your pockets?

Me: Absolutely not! Never! Pockets, bah!

TSA2: Okay, please walk into the scanner an….


My face breaks out into a deliriously happy grin, and I even clap a little. Okay, I might have even jumped up and down a bit in excitement. That’s all typical behavior here at TSA central, right? TSA 2 smiles at me, though maybe she’s just thinking I’m on heavy medication or something and she should proceed with caution.

I step into the scanner, and assume the perp stance. Wait 5 seconds. Walk out. On the other side, I’m told to stop and wait with my feet in a certain place that allows me to watch my stuff as it’s going through the baggage scanner. I wait patiently, for the moment when they’ll call me for further screening, and my titanium collarbone will get the moment of glory it deserves. It’s about time! All hail the titanium collarbone! Really, the injus….

My visions of triumph are interrupted by the person who passes along the scanner verdict.

“She’s fine.”

See! I knew it would happen! She’s……wait, what? “Fine”? How the hell can someone loaded up with titanium and implants be “fine”?

I briefly contemplate making a stand, but I decide that now, with legions of the traveling public trying to get to places for Thanksgiving, is not the time. Dejected, I wander over to the baggage scanner. Where I find that one of my boots has escaped its bin, and is lollygagging in the end part of the scanner. As I’m reaching for it, TSA Agent 3 makes her presence known.

TSA3: Hey, how did that happen? It escaped, huh?

Me: Yeah, looks like it made a break for it. Looking for adventure maybe?

TSA3: Or maybe it couldn’t find its way out? Ha, maybe it’s a blonde!

We laugh, and yet I’m thinking - okay, seriously people, now THIS is a bit much. Not only do I not get rudely felt up and talked to like I’m an entering freshman at Oberlin (“now I’m going to touch your thighs” etc.), but the TSA people are so nice and friendly that I want to invite them all over for bundt cake. The final insult to injury is when my laptop gets bunched up at the baggage corral because I’m still putting my boots on, and TSA4 carefully carries it and my laptop bag over to another table at the end, so it doesn’t get squished in the melee. I give up at this point. My dreams of stardom through my travails with the TSA are crushed beyond repair.

Of course, I do notice when I’m putting my laptop away that I was so focused on the scanner originally that I forgot to put my baggie o’liquids in a separate bin. Oops. That puts me on a watchlist or something for NEXT time, right? Right? Please?


Anonymous said...

You need to travel with me. I always look suspicious. Didn't get felt up this time, but I had a giant knuckle bone in my luggage from US Bones for Mahina. You should see how fast I got pulled out of line for them to body scan my suitcase looking for a big old hand grenade only to find a beefy knuckle bone. :)

RP said...

If only I was Mideastern like one of my pts stated the other day. Like really? Are you on crack?