It never fails. My experiences at the airport have always been a cause for concern. Even before the 9-11 crackdown, I found myself inadvertedly setting off the alrams for one reason or another. It was either due to a belt buckle or a necklace or something equally harmless.
Recently, Amazing Daughter and I took my friend, Betty, to the airport. She has early signs of Alzheimers and is in denial, so we were to discreetly ask that she would have assistance in finding her gates and changing flights. That part went off without a hitch. She started talking to the check-in guy, and became his best friend. The trouble came when he said that we could take her to the gate.
I like to be prepared when I have to go through security by mentally checking out anything that might set off the alarm. The change in plans happened so suddenly that we were off and running to the security lines without a thought about any problems. We encountered our first problem rather quickly because Better was wearing a Betty-Boop sequined top. We were told right away that sequins would set off the alarms.. Not only did it set off the alarms, but she was subjected to a pat down because of it. She's 70 years old and volunteered the information that she was not wearing a bra. She was quite confused about what she had done "wrong".
Meanwhile, amazing Daughter and I had gone through the whole rig-a-ma-role of shoes and empty pockets, and were waiting for our purses to go through the x-ray machine.
There was a hold up, and everyone was gathered around the x-ray machine, pointing, discussing, looking my way. I knew instinctively that I was the cause of the commotions. I started wondering what in the world was in my purse. Cell phone, wallet, pens, all the trash - I had been meaning to get my purse cleaned out, but just never got around to it. Then I remembered! I had a metal nail file! Apparently, it looked very threatening. Admitedly, it is long, narrow, and has a point.
Now, this very large - probably 6'3"; 300+ pounds man is holding my purse very gingerly, walking over to the "search table" and saying he has to look through my purse.
Being the "Helpful Hannah" that I am, I explain that it's a nail file, and reach my hands into the purse along side his gloved hands, and start digging, hoping to find it in the little pocket where it is supposed to be. No luck.
Meanwhile, he is telling me to step away, but I continue for another second or two, trying to explain it should be "right here". He again says, "Step away. I will look."
I obediently step away, as he continues to say, "You might try to use it on me." I almost laughed out loud at the very idea, but didn't, saying instead, "I would never do that!"
After much digging, he finally found the offending nail file, held it up between his finger and thumb, saying "Is this it?"
I nodded while thinking, "Well, you saw the x-ray. There was only one sharp object, surely you recognize it."
Again, he very gingerly laid it on top of my purse and said, "This has to go through the x-ray again."
Thankfully, no other "weapons" were found, and we were on our way.
Recently, Hubby took a flight to Florida to visit a sick friend for a couple days. He had packed a large but nearly empty container of hair gel, and shaving cream. I told him those items were probably be confiscated because they weren't the approved teeny tiny size. He didn't think it would be a problem. However, later he told me that it was a problem and they took his items.
Now, I may be in the minority, and I don't know if I should actually say this out loud, but, how should I say this?--I wonder if all this "security" is really about safety, or it if is really about taking away our freedoms. Is it a way to lull us into a false sense of security--make us all behave--stand obediently in fron of the x-ray machine that can see our belly buttons, because if we refuse, we can get hauled away to jail. They can rummage though our things and throw away our belongings which they have deemed as dangerous. Things like hair gel and shaving cream, because the containers are too big, and we just accept it as part of "safety".
I know that we live in a scarey world, and there really are people who want to kill us, but I miss the days of Common Sense. And, I wonder how much of our freedoms we will give up all for the supposed promises of safety and security. I wonder if we will all wake up one day and realize that our freedoms are gone and wonder how in the world it happened.
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" - Partick Henry
I'm just wondering.