Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Great Big Lie

Greetings, WYMOP readers!

You may have noticed this post came out a day late; I usually post on Monday, and it’s Tuesday . . . unless, of course, you’re reading this in Australia. But if you are in Australia, I assume you have bigger things to worry about than what day it is, like keeping one of the bazillion intrinsically deadly forms of life there (including a species of dirt, if one particular internet meme is to be believed) from killing you.
Good luck with that! Stay sharp, move fast, make good decisions!
But I digress. I’m late, but it’s because I’m on vacation and have come to Colorado for a visit and . . . I just forgot. I was getting into bed last night and suddenly thought, Oh, shit! It’s . . . was Monday! I need to write a blog post, right now! I should . . .zzzzz . . . zzz . . . zzzzzzzz . . .
What you should be paying attention to—and long time readers will know this—is that I came to Colorado. That means I got on a  plane—and that means I got to deal with the TSA! If you’ve read of my travels in the past, you’ll know that I’m almost always pulled aside at the security checkpoint. I’ve been wanded to within an inch of my life. I’ve been patted down and felt up for such extended periods they count as relationships. I’ve been checked for explosives residue so often you’d think I work in a firework factory. I’ve had my bags completely unpacked by hard-eyed individuals who don’t seem to understand that yes, I like—and travel with—books. I’ve had my laptop and Chromebook pulled out, opened, turned on, turned off, and inspected by something that looked suspiciously like the Official Dr. McCoy Tri-Corder I got in exchange for fifty-gajillion box tops back in 1974.
I’ve stood by and watched five TSA agents going through my things like I owed them money and they thought I was holding out on them, while a woman wearing chunky jewelry and an over-sized hat, a man still wearing his cowboy boots and a Texas belt buckle—and by that I mean it was the SIZE of TEXAS—and a 20-year-old carrying a canvas shoulder bag with the words NOT DRUGZ Sharpied onto the side, simply strolled through security unchallenged.
My relationship with the TSA could be described as rocky. At best.
Through all this, though, I’ve tried to just smile (though the smile was a bit strained when Mr. NOT DRUGZ shot me with a forefinger as he sauntered past) and understand that these people have a job to do, and they’re going to do it, so I might as well make it easy on everyone involved.
This brings us to Sunday.
It’s a good thing I got to Logan early, I thought, as I stepped into the pre-line for the security checkpoint. This isn’t the line for the checkpoint, you understand, but the line to have a TSA agent look at your boarding pass, check your ID, and decide if you’re worthy to step forward and line up to go through the scanning machines at the actual checkpoint. This was just the line to get in line, and there had to be fifty to sixty people ahead of me. I felt a touch on my arm.
“Are you traveling alone today, sir?”
It was a tall man in TSA blues, with shiny buttons aplenty.
“Yes,” I said. “I am.”
He unhooked one of the ropes shaping the line to get in line, a pick-a-path maze apparently designed by a drunken E.M. Escher, and waved me through the gap.
“Would you care to step out of line and come with me, sir?” His eyes narrowed. “Why are you laughing?”
“Because believe it or not, officer,” I said, following along behind him. “This happens a lot. You guys usually wait until I’m at least at the checkpoint, though.”
“Oh, we’re expediting the process, sir. Right over here, sir.”
I followed him to a bank of machines off against the wall, and when he stopped I did what comes naturally after all this time: I dropped my bag and starfished. Chin up, arms out, legs spread wide, you wouldn’t have been surprised to see me wearing loud bermuda shorts or being accompanied by a bucktoothed sponge.
The agent turned to face me, saw I had assumed the pose, paused, then shook his head. He held up a plastic stick with a flat cloth swab at one end. “No, sir, I just need to run this pad over your hands and fingers to—”
I said it with him.
“Check for explosives residue.”
He swabbed and tested, and in a matter of seconds I had a green light. “That’s it, sir,” he said. I thanked him, grabbed my bag, and started back to the end of the line to get in line—which hadn’t moved appreciatively—and there were easily seventy-five people there now.
“No, sir,” said the agent again. “Up here.”
He walked me past the line to get in line and right up to the bored-looking agent who was checking boarding passes and IDs. “You’re next, sir. Have a nice flight.”
Okay, are you ready for the great big lie I mentioned in the title of this post?
I turned to look back at the people still in the line to get in line—the vast majority of whom had been in line ahead of me when I was pulled aside, and were currently glaring at me—gave a huge, theatrical shrug, and clearly mouthed the words “I’m sorry!”
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA . . . (deep breath)  . . . HA!

Talk to you later!

Author’s Note:
To all of the gullible people who may have believed me about that Australian dirt: sorry, I made that up. It’s not a species of dirt, but a subspecies.

Talk to you later

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