Thursday, June 08, 2006


I have a number of things on which I've been wanting to pontificate.

1. Update on my flight last weekend. I had the "B" ticket. I was told, probably not a problem, especially if I got there fairly early and was towards the head of the "B" line. Wellllllllllllllll, there's this problem I have with TSA agents. They hate me. The first time I flew after 9/11 was the second weekend that planes were allowed in the air. I was told to send my cardigan through the machine since it had metal buttons. The TSA agents gathered around the screen to look at the bag that was on the conveyor belt behind my sweater. Conferences were held over the bag. Supervisors were called over. But because the conveyor belt was halted, my sweater was still on the conveyor belt out of reach.

Me: Can I have my sweater, please?

Agent: (glances my way and says nothing)

Me: (To another TSA agent): May I have my sweater, please? It's stuck on the conveyor belt.

Agent: (Glances my way and says nothing)

Me: (To YET ANOTHER TSA agent): My sweater is stranded on the conveyor belt. Could you get it for me, please?

Pimply-Faced Agent Who Hit Puberty on 9/12: Ma'am! We are all fighting terrorism here. You will have to be patient.

TSA Agent Who Overheard This and takes my sweater off the conveyor belt and puts it on a table behind him. Calls over a supervisor.

Supervisor: Yes?

Agent: Could you check out her sweater? She seems to be a little too anxious to get it.

Supervisor: (pause while looking at the now 5 TSA agents grouped around the screen looking at the bag on the conveyor belt): Seriously?

Supervisor: (gets sweater off table and hands to me): Thank you for your patience, Ma'am. (To agents) We CAN do our jobs without pissing off the public.

But ever since that trip, I've made it through security without being stopped three times. And I traveled a lot during that time. Honestly, I think I must have been put on some sort of "list". A friend of mine calls it the "Global threatening Soccer Moms of Kirkwood List".

I was flying to St. Thomas and was stopped in the security gate. Also stopped was a little old lady in a wheel chair and a 12-year old girl. I am so serious about that. A little old lady in a wheelchair, a 12-year old girl and a middle-aged soccer mom. The three of us were being searched for weapons of mass destruction and I SWEAR I saw the Shoe Bomber's brother walk through with a bazooka on his shoulder without any problem.

OK, it wasn't a bazooka. It was some PVC piping, 6 feet long, but he DID look too much like the Shoe Bomber for my tastes. The PVC piping went through the x-ray machine with no problem. AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM FIT THAT INTO THE LITTLE "IF YOUR LUGGAGE FITS IN HERE, IT'S CARRY ON" BOX, BECAUSE, I DON'T THINK SO!!!!

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Security. Anyway, this past weekend was no different. I had taken all potential metal-containing objects off me and put them in my purse. My eensy teensy cutesy strappy sandals were put into the bin, because I've learned that my shoes drive metal detectors absofreakinglutely nuts. I took off as much as I could without getting a citation for indecency. I successfully went through the metal detector.

My purse did not.

TSA agents pounced upon it. First, they took the little coffee-filter thing and wiped it down. Then they put the coffee filter thing into some sort of apparatus, punched buttons, waited for it to do whatever it does, it went "Ding" and a light went on which told them, correctly I might add, that my purse did NOT contain any explosives. As if.

Then they dumped it out in front of God and everyone and began to paw through it. Cellphone. iPod. PalmPilot. Wallet. Keys. Meds. An impossible tangled mess of earphones for cellphone and iPod. Makeup.

"What, exactly, had you concerned?" I asked.

"Your keys," I was told.

Excuse me, but doesn't everyone have keys? I didn't want to ask them because I had the feeling that if I asked, I'd be spending the night at Gitmo.

My keys were sent through the x-ray machine and it was determined, correctly I might add, that they WERE keys. Duh.

I grabbed everything, shoved my feet into my eensy teensy cutesy strappy sandals and clip-clopped off to my gate. To find out I was at the end of the "B" line.

I got a middle seat towards the back of the plane. THANKFULLY, I was not in the live-stock section.

As I was standing in the back of the "B" line, I saw a guy emerge from the security gate with a belt looped around his neck, feet shoved into untied tennis shoes and clutching the waist-band of his pants as he dashed down the concourse towards his gate.

Meanwhile, a PVC-Pipe-carrying Shoe Bomber sauntered through the metal detector.

OK, maybe not.


2. Plantar fasciitis sucks. I got nailed with it when I woke up around 2:00 to go potty.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I could not stand on my foot at all. Not even on tippytoe. I considered hopping down the hallway to the bathroom. I could hop. OK, I was really sleepy, it was 2 AM and I had quite the full bladder. Hopping? Don't think so.

So..... I laid down on my back and scooted down the hallway to the bathroom, all the while, thinking "thank heaven no one can see me."

Then I blog about it for all the world to know.

Heel pain is doing somewhat better now, by the way.


3. I had more, but I'm tired and I'm going to bed.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Funny, sly. I've seen old ladies with canes and/or walkers, who can barely move on their own, get the full treatment by TSA staff. I mean, I know we're not SUPPOSED to use racial profiling but this is absurd!

Is this reverse profiling? Look for the least likely terrorist and give her (usually a "her") the treatment while - as you said - the shoe bomber's brother gets a free pass?

insomniac said...

i got the total bad-ass treatment at DC recently, fortunately i now have up-to-date i.d., it's a good thing they're stopping forty something math professors with such promptitude.

oh, the people who looked most like possible threats in DC? all cabdrivers!

xena said...

Poor baby Sly! Heel Spurs are death but unless you've had them you can't begin to know the pain! I did all the right therapy and ice and sleep name it and after a year I still can't get out of bed without wincing! Dance Magazine recommended cowboy boots (apparently an old remedy) but for sure strippy sexy sandals are going to make matters worse! I've become the spokesmodel for Motrin myself. Hope you can get to a tolerable level of pain soon!

Tramp said...

The last time I flew was out of Tampa. And I do mean the LAST time. I received full treatment. Including, but not limited to, a flashlight down the front of my pants. After the third time my shoes were removed for 'the box', I blurted out, "Oh sure, me you check out, but the ragheads with the bombs go right on through. Where were YOU on 9/11?"

And yes, I regreted saying it.

Kafaleni said...

I betcha did, Tramp. Turn your head and cough for the nice agents, would you, please?

Coming back into NZ last month, I was carrying a LOT of extra baggage. I had done some very judicious packing and was probably 15-20 lbs over the limit, but I didn't get charged for it, because most of it was in my "handbag", which was more like a large cloth shopping bag that held twice as much as my regular bag. Then at the xray screen they said "could you please empty out your bag?" I had 4 jars of pasta sauce at the bottom of the bag,(ones that you can't get in NZ.. which is a real shame!) and they were worried that I was importing honey. Of course they were in the bottom of my bag, so out comes the book, the newspaper, the keys & purse, cellphone, boarding pass, passport, customs declaration, the stuff I couldn't fit in my suitcase and of course, waaaay down the bottom, 4 jars of sauce wrapped in an old blouse. Boy, that was fun. But I gave them a laugh for the day, so I feel better about that.

Susan said...

A year ago, in April, when my family flew to PA for my sisters wedding, my daughter, who was, may I add, 12 at the time, got pulled aside to be checked out. Wanded all over. Nothing was found.

When we flew up this past April, we had no didn't seem all that strict either...not like it had been the year before.

LabSpecimen said...

Sly, I definately want to travel with you! For my own entertainment, of course.