the absolute worst thing about meeting my facebook friends. . .


i made a new years resolution to meet all 325 of my facebook friends. in the year 2011 alone, i was on the road 50 out of 52 weeks and probably on close to a hundred flights.  i have continued to meet friends, past the 325 i had as of january 2011.  and today i’m on my way to florida.

the worst thing?  t.s.a.

they have done everything.  they have swabbed me.  they have sequestered me in bullet proof holding cells while they rifle through my bags (really, you have to hold my panties up to the light to be sure there’s not an i.e.d. in them?).  they have pulled me out of the line at the gate in order to do a “random” second search.  they have body patted me, wanded me, and once a female agent told me “i’m going to start at each of your ankles and move up your legs until i meet resistance.”  i said “isn’t that an r. kelly song?”  and when she was done, she said “nice brazilian.”

and every once in a while, when our citizenry is quiescent, the t.s.a. adds a new level of weird.  they’re now testing liquids a traveler has already purchased (at a really jacked up price) INSIDE the terminal, after they have passed through the slaughterhouse inspection.  i’ve had inner terminal searches when switching planes, but if someone grabs my pre-flight beer and says “that’s for me, baby!”  i’m not going to be happy.

and it’s the not happy that t.s.a. is now aiming for:  video has emerged of a woman who was approached by t.s.a. at the gate and told she was randomly selected to give up her $5 bottle of water.  she swallowed the remaining water rather than do it.  a bonehead move of rebellion?

by the time a typical traveler has reached the gate, they’ve forgotten there ever were founding fathers who were willing to risk their fortunes, their safety and their lives for freedom. can you imagine one of these dudes having somebody grasp their ankles and feel their way up? can you imagine them stripping down for the right to get on a plane to disneyland? can you imagine them standing by while their six year old cries because t.s.a. has to take apart her barbie backpack?

the woman was using her cellphone to video tape this, and lord knows, i’ve wanted to do that in situations when t.s.a. agents have genuinely scared me.  the video is rough and not very professional.  but one interaction is really clear:

“Let me get this straight,” the woman asks the TSA agent. “this is retaliatory for my attitude, this is not making the airways safer it’s retaliatory.”

“It pretty much definitely is,” the screener responds.

i’ve always thought attitude was the key–that air travelers have to present themselves as meek and unobtrusive.  no joking, no protesting.  but it used to be that you could heave a sigh of relief once you got past security.  no longer.

there is a rumor floating around the internet that t.s.a. is attempting to implement “stop, freeze!” regulations that would make passengers freeze on command, as a group.  anywhere in the airport.  i used to think that was crazy talk.  but maybe the point of security is not to find anything that’s going to hurt us, but rather, to make sure we are a passive lot.  because really, we all have seen ground and flight crew sauntering past the security lines–how come nothing random ever happens to them?

i used to drink the preflight beer because i was worried about the plane crashing.  as we all know, alcohol in your bloodstream is secreted into the air in the form of sweat.  the alcohol has a lower density than regular air, so the alcohol lifts the plane.  you didn’t know how aeronautics works?  the next time you see a woman drinking a big gulp margarita at the chili’s just inside the united terminal, you should say thank you!

now i think they should have preflight beers available BEFORE security.  of course, there’s another way:

no need for an inflight movie!  and can i get a tan while i’m in here?

6 responses to “the absolute worst thing about meeting my facebook friends. . .

  • William Taylor

    Quite simply, your bravery is astonishing! I FEEL for you in the security process. I HOPE everyone else appreciates what you go through to meet them. just amazing…..

  • Mark

    This is the logical reaction to 9/11. Security hysteria on all levels.

  • Don Wainwright

    Arlynn, I thought it was just me that was resentful about having to take my shoes off. I’ve taken to fedexing my luggage to where I’m going. I show up at the airport in shorts, t-shirt, and sandels carrying only a comb, an american express card, and my id card in my pocket along with a book.

    I make a point of buying NOTHING from the airport price gougers and drink from the water foutain. Eat before you get to the airport and treat yourself to a nice meal later when you leave the place. If the millions of passengers that have to fly would do this for about a month and dry up those revenue streams, I think you could get a culture change going with TSA.

    Also – always get a friend to pick you and drop you off. NEVER USE THEIR PAY PARKING. All they get from me is the price of the ticket and what I deposit in their restrooms.

  • arlynnpresser

    don, they do hit you every which way for more money once you reach the airport. i like your style of flying! and you’re right if that were the way people did things, we’d see some changes. i’ve always thought a manicure/pedicure spa at an airport would be a thing of beauty! have yet to see it. although, to be fair, most of the time i’m in an airport i’m running.

  • Don Wainwright

    It’s the “easy button”. Just send the stuff to where you’re going to be staying (sometimes they even bring it up to the room). Put a roll of tape and another prepaid/preprinted label in the box to seal it back up when your stay is finished and away you go.

    I also enjoy not having to turn my book off (I’ll never be an e-book fan) in flight since it also disrupts another airline revenue stream – “Sky Mall” which everyone has to read when they have to extinguish their Kindles.

  • Julia Kovach

    Arylnn, you’re right…..they have no sense of humor! I think they study human behavior and look for red flags in everything we do. If we have any anxiety about flying or our destination or anything else, they can pick up on it. And then the search begins. I just experienced the same thing a few weekends ago when I flew into NYC. I just stood by and let them do their stuff. Wasn’t so bad though. But then again, I seldom fly. But really, what choice do we have? Thanks for the good read. Take care of your precious self, girl! xoxo

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