Why is it that, whenever I travel, I feel less safe going through security. It’s not that it’s not invasive enough. Please. I’m surprised they don’t ask me to turn my head and cough.
No, it’s mostly the fact that TSA agents resemble nothing more than Mall Cops to me. They are either bored out of their mind and frustrated that (after HOW MANY years?) people still can’t remember to take their fucking change out of their pockets before they go through the metal detector.
Or they are totalitarian types, exerting their meager authority at the “office” knowing that when they get home, it’s just going to be more, “yes, dear.”
I always take the “Don’t feed the bears” mentality when going through airport security. They CAN make the situation far more unbearable than it already is, so I just smile and say “yes, sir/no, sir/yes, ma’am/no, ma’am.” My mama would be proud.
Last week however, I was tested by the fellow who was barking at everyone to “please place your large bags directly on the rollers” rather than in a gray plastic bin. The first time I heard him say that was when a woman, who was obviously trying to avoid paying for checked baggage, was shoving her Samsonite through. And given the glut of larger than usual bags coming onboard, I shook my head at the state of the airline industry and felt a moment of pity for all those business flyers who have to deal with these vacationing amateurs on a daily basis.
I got to the machine and went quickly through my well-rehearsed routine. My laptop came out, my laptop bag went into a gray bin, along with my shoes and the assorted contents of my pockets.
The bins whisked away efficiently and I stepped through the detector to find a scowling TSA agent.
“Did you not hear what I said?”
“Uh . . .” Yep. I was speechless.
“I SAID put your bags directly on the rollers.”
“I’m sorry. I heard you say LARGE bags. I didn’t think mine was a LARGE bag. I apologize.”
He scowled at me again. Barely looked at my boarding pass. And waved me through. No hassle. For which I was grateful.
But SERIOUSLY? WTF? If it’s a deal, then yank the fucking bag back out and let’s do this right. But to upbraid me? Did you get your scold quotient in for the day, dude?
I’m a big believer in rules. I like to know where they are so I can decide how and if I want to break them. But this didn’t feel like security to me. It felt like his authority had been flouted.
Maybe somebody just needed a hug. Or a quick game of Rochambeau. I’ll go first.