Clearly, I was the most suspicious-looking person at the airport yesterday, as evidenced by the pat down I received.
I arrived early, hoping to get on an earlier flight. I didn’t get on the flight, but it was very good that I got there when I did. Despite the security line consisting of five people (this was not exactly a big city I was flying out of), it took me half an hour to make it through.
As I unloaded the contents of my suitcase onto the conveyor belt, a heavy-set TSA attendant came over and asked to rub a piece of paper on my hands. I must have looked thoroughly skeptical because he continued, “We’re testing hands today.” Testing hands? Um, sure buddy. Look, I don’t know what does it for you, but if rubbing a piece of paper across my palm is going to make your day a little brighter, well, I’m happy to help.
I was about to pass through the xray machine and on to the airport bar (god I hate flying!) when my friend returned with four others. “There’s been an alarm!” he shouted. I searched wildly about, looking for a possible terrorist, as the five TSA attendants circled me. What are you buffoons doing, I thought. There’s been an alarm! Get the terrorist!
“Ma’am,” my friend said, “you’ll need to come with me.”
I was pissed. I was okay with the hand fetish, but trying to score a pat down? That was asking too much from this uptight native New Englander. Thankfully, a woman arrived to handle this (me?) instead. She led me into a closed room, which of course made it seem even worse. If you’re doing something above board, why a closed room where there are no witnesses? Also, the room appeared to be someone’s office – not an official screening room. Once the door was closed, the woman explained in painful detail about each and every area she was going to pat. The worst part? She referred to my butt as a “buttocks.” I cringed. Just ew.
“We found traces of explosives on your hands. Have you been handling explosives lately?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “But I did just come from Idaho, though, and I imagine there are high concentrations of it in the air.”
The pat down process took five long minutes. At the end, the woman asked for my driver’s license so she could make a copy.
“But I don’t have any explosives,” I said. “Why do you need a copy of my license?”
“We are required to have it on file, just in case you decide to sue.”
I shook my head, shocked that such an elegant process as this could result in people suing. “I won’t do that. It’s really not a big– wait! Where is my laptop?!”
Madness ensued and TSA attendants ran about. Shortly, my laptop was discovered tucked away in a drawer where it had “been placed safely” for me. (Yeah right.) Released on my way and with all my belongings, I boarded the plane for my short flight home. Thankfully, the airline was serving complimentary glasses of wine. Believe me, I needed it.