Last Thursday, Ryan and I left for a mini-vacation in Colorado. Despite having to make a 6am flight, we sported two positive attitudes and timely arrivals at IAH. And then "security" entered the picture. Scene:
Only one lane of "security" was open despite it being such a busy time for business travel. The line must have been about thirty feet long just to pass the first identification verification. Shortly after joining the other patient travelers, there arose a verbal battle between the "security" agent and a group of foreign travelers. I believe their accent was Russian, but I can't be sure. Clearly, they did not understand the American concept of standing in line. Their confusion sent the intolerant and abrasive "security" agent into a tailspin of lectures to all of the surrounding travelers. She stopped the line several times to shake her finger at us all. The alleged Russians breezed through the x-ray machine and metal detectors without further issue.
I, however, the short, plump, blond(?,) all-American, young woman who never confuses the verbs to "lay" and to "lie," was pulled to the side for a pat down. Oh, no, my friends. They didn't use a wand. I was felt up and down and too close to personal bits. Did I mention it was a show for all of the other travelers to watch? It's good to know that I am just as likely to be perceived as a terrorist as, well... people that cause noticeable distractions in the security lines. No, I don't suggest that there was anything suspicious about the Russian travelers. I have to believe, however, that there are endless ways in which they MORE closely fit the profile of someone to watch.
You might be surprised to know that I was barely fazed by the event. Why? Oh, my friends, I've had MUCH more humiliating experiences at the hands of "security" officers.
Flashback about four years to the Baltimore airport. Mom and I had been visiting family in DC, but it was time to go home. It must have been a slow time or date to fly because the airport was quiet. "Security" must have been bored. After walking through the metal detector, I was pulled aside for further investigation. Ahhhhhh...lovely. There I was without my shoes, without my jacket. I stood there stripped down to a sleeveless shirt and a loose pair of black pants. The agent began to swipe me with the metal detector wand. It kept detecting metal on my body. I had to pull up my pant legs one by one. No metal. The agents were confused. I did tell them that I had metal in my knee from a post-ski surgery I had years earlier. Then, it happened.
They wanted a closer look at my mid-section. I had to pull up my shirt, not to the point of exposing my undergarments, but high enough to show my mid-drift. My other arm out to the side like a scarecrow, I stood there feeling increasingly upset as...wait for it...AN ENTIRE UNIT OF SERVICEMEN WALKED PAST ME ENJOYING THE FREE "WELCOME HOME" SHOW!
Eventually, of course, the "security" agents were confused enough to give up. (Good to know they're so committed, right?)
Thus, I sit here today, twice frisked by airport agents. It's not fun, folks. Perhaps next time I'll have a meltdown in line waiting to shove my bags through the metal detector. Then, I will look like an average, disgruntled passenger calling just enough attention to myself to be perceived as "normal."