April 18, 2012

I have made this threat over and over

I've just never had the stones to actually go through with it. A guy in Portland, Oregon stripped naked at airport security in protest of the ridiculous searching techniques they now use. I say this every time I'm in line to whomever is beside me. They stand a little farther away, but I can tell: they're dying to do it too.

If you travel by airplane, you know the drill. A long snaking zigzag line (the line for the U.S. is the absolute worst) finally funnels you to the conveyor belt. You toss down three plastic bins, and put the following in them: your carry on bag (which is the only luggage you have if you've a brain in your head and plan on having clothes on the other side - checked = lost), your computer if you have one, your shoes, your belt, loose change, phone, watch, wallet, purse, separate pre-measured bag containing tiny containers of your liquids (well, not your liquids; liquids you are carrying), hair clips and your fillings.

You stand back and watch your stuff get x-rayed. There is a certain indignity to having them pull you aside - again - and rip through your giant purse - again - only to find out that odd weapony thing is a corkscrew - again. This takes an eon. The checker who gets to sit there at the x-ray machine takes his sweetass time. Who wouldn't? You're get to look at cool stuff and make people fidget. People who are standing there in their sock feet, praying their jeans don't fall down because you have their belt. It's not their fault all the styles now are those low rise ones that threaten to fall down on their own. It's not their fault.

In order to keep you occupied, you stand obediently before a metal detector. When you're given the all clear, you hop through. If it beeps, forget it. You will be pulled aside to choose to be felt up by a person wearing blue gloves who makes ten bucks an hour, or go through a Star Trek machine that is probably irradiating your entire body with a thousand megatrons of badness. They keep saying things like "studies prove that the dose of radiation is No Big Deal, the same amount as you got when you swallowed that little round battery from your watch that time when you were holding it in your mouth as you tried to work the little mini screwdriver to get the back off". They might use different words. The point is, we now know that battery is NOT a good thing to have in you. And I don't trust studies, anyway. One glass of wine is healthy, two will kill you, no caffeine when pregnant, vitamin D, no vitamin D...as soon as one study is published, that's the cue for the next one proving the opposite to begin.

I'm not a fan of being touched all over by people who haven't at least bought me dinner. And we're not talking the house wine, here. Some airports (I'm looking at you, Miami) give you no choice about the X-ray House. Miami. Think about that. Snowbirds hop in their with their old hearts and new hips and that thing is gonna light up like a Christmas tree.

I was in Halifax one time (lovely airport) and I was standing there in a sundress. That is it. All my stuff was in the bins. No shoes, no clips, no glasses, no nothing. Sundress. They were making people go through the x-ray. I swore then and there that if I beeped, I was hauling that thing over my head and announcing that anything setting that machine off must have been implanted while I was asleep, and they were free to find it and remove it because I, too, would like to know what it was.

It didn't beep. Saved a lot of people a lot of pain that day. I had one friend - on that trip, coincidentally - who'd flown in from the States. She was livid. Airport security has a special affinity for underwire bras. They'd apparently dumped her boobs out of her underwires and not put them back in. I agreed with her. You put your stuff away when you're done with it.

Here's why I'm onside with Mr. Portland: they have already taken your dignity. I have seen older people so upset, it makes me upset. There are many, many reasons why people would not want to be felt up or shaken down. It is not about bombs or terrorists or anything else. It is about basic human dignity. If I have medical issues I'd rather not share with the lineup behind me, that is my business. Perhaps I'm just shy. ::cough::. Doesn't matter. The point is, by the time you're standing around half exposed, the charade becomes almost unbearable. So to speak. It feels more like you're checking into prison than checking onto a plane. I'm supposing here.

And, I wish they'd quit taking my corkscrews.

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Anonymous jmd said...

Next time you travel, take me with you. I will strip naked, and while the security guards shriek and cover their eyes in horror, you scoot through with your corkscrew, chainsaw, and dirty bombs.

April 18, 2012 10:30 AM  
Anonymous buzzwhack said...

I will only say one thing about OHara airport in 2009...body cavity search. I'm sure I will never fly out of there again.A nd no, it wasn't me who was searched. The somewhat clueless 68 year old man had that dubious honor.He was escorted by two nut nannies who couldn't wait to make life hell for him.

April 18, 2012 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Lorraine said...

This is me, Lorraine. I'm at my desk at CHCH giggling like an idiot at Jane's comment.

And Buzz, I do appreciate you clarifying. Nice way to bury the lede...

April 18, 2012 11:27 AM  
Anonymous jmd said...

Buzz - a NUT NANNY? Where do I apply?

April 18, 2012 11:48 AM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Having been attacked by the business end of a corkscrew once (which may or may not have been opening the sixth or seventh bottle... witnesses are unclear on that particular detail) I can attest to the fact that untrained and, more importantly, unlicensed individuals should should never be allowed on an aircraft with a corkscrew.

Tonight I will spend 9 hours carting 212 people I have never met before from Edmonton to London. I will stay awake the whole time and be blissful in my knowledge that not one of them will be able to open a bottle of wine unassisted.

April 18, 2012 12:20 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I would only use my corkscrew for good. Never to open a pilot, just a pinot.

Actually, I just forget I have it.

April 18, 2012 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Roz said...

don't forget your no-doze! or at least warn everyone to stay buckled up. still can't believe people have to unbuckle asap and go for a wander. sheesh!

April 18, 2012 3:21 PM  

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