Tag Archives: t.s.a.

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

t.s.a.

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?


on wednesday mark zuckerberg will send us a nice thank you note!

last year, in florida, i took off my sandals and swung on a tire. i didn't know that the grass had been spread with fertilizer. when i went to the airport, i was put in a bulletproof glass cage by tsa. fertilizer combined with other materials can be a component part in a bomb. i'm not a terrorist, really, i just look like one.

on wednesday, facebook will go public.  offering shares to the general marketplace, mark zuckerberg is going to find himself a billionaire.  and what exactly does he own?  everything about facebook users.  pictures, even the stupid ones.  updates, status, posts, comments, notes. . . all the timeline of our lives.  i’m grateful to facebook because it has allowed me to meet and keep friends.  last year, i made a promise to meet all 325 of the facebook friends i had on new year’s eve.  i did pretty okay, meeting 90% of them.  still, there’s a lot of information out there that mark and facebook own.  i assume a thank you note is coming after he collects his check.

this year i am trying to pay it forward on last year’s resolution.  last year, every facebook friend did their best to encourage and support me in my efforts.  and even a few friends who aren’t even on facebook!  i traveled around the world with my eldest son and met so many people!  i reinforced friendships, reviewed histories, suffered some disappointments but it was all worth it!

tomorrow i get back on an airplane for the first time since just before christmas.  i’m believing that my fear of flying is returning.  half of my fear dissipates when i make it through security.  i seem to have a veritable talent for attracting the “random” search and the “we just need to take apart your bag”. . . really, do they have to paw through my panties quite like that???

today, i heard from molly parshall that yesterday she hadn’t really been able to take the index cards and start on her goal of a) taking a train ride with her son blake and b) becoming a psychiatrist (or other professional) who helps those with agoraphobia.  instead, she was stuck in the house a little paralyzed with fear.  i wish i could have stayed longer in coldwater.  and maybe i should have.  but i know i’m going back.  because i promised that i would.

molly is a beautiful talented and very witty agoraphobic. we made up a program using small steps to get her out of the house. then i drove home to chicago.

 

those goals are pretty big ones, and the small things in between are just like my visits to facebook friends–

while i know she feels disappointed in herself–i think it’s a good sign that she’s spending a lot of the day playing farmville on facebook.  because if she wasn’t a little intimidated that would mean that her goals aren’t big enough.  last year, when i first decided i’d strike out into the world, i spent about a week utterly out of my mind with fear.  i feel for her, but i know she’s strong, brave and going to be okay.

tomorrow i’ll be in boston to meet lisa tabbi-fuller.  it’s her birthday and we’re going to play with heights.  mastering one fear is a good way of proving to yourself that you can master all fears.