Thursday, December 09, 2004


The 9/11 Intelligence Act was passed this week, possibly in response to the following:

On my Thanksgiving departure flight, as all the world is now gratified to know, I rescued my boarding pass from obscurity and moistness in an airport garbage can. That's a tough Act of Blondeness to follow, so on the return flight I broke several international transportation laws.

I am very serious about my carry-on bag. It must contain supplies for all contingencies: Food. Water. Pillow. Toothbrush. Toothpaste. Cash for bribes.

These items, clearly alarming terrorist threats, held me up for a good fifteen minutes at security. Perhaps they were tipped off by the long involved cell phone conversation I had at the brink of the security checkpoint (it was about a potential job offer, in the middle of which I began shrieking “YES YES YES YES I WANT IT” which created at least four seconds of uncomfortable entertainment for the fine citizens in the shoes-off line). When I finally stepped forward to present my (this time) fully dry boarding pass, the agent said, “Miss, could you please step over to Lane 1?”

Ah, Lane 1 at CVG. Lane 1 is for the Very Special Terror Suspects. I stood in line between a hacking seventy-year-old man and a tiny Asian woman who probably couldn't make it through a revolving door without passing out. They glared at me, for it was clearly I, with my reckless cell-phone useage, who had outed us as a recently-activated Hamas cell.

My duffel bag with its Paperback Regency Novel Of Doom slid through the X-ray machine. Not so much with the purse, which was endlessly jimmied back and forth on the conveyor belt. The Pope hasn’t been photographed this much. There was much pointing and squinting at the monitor.

“Miss, can you step over here while we go through your personal property?” yelled one of the agents as I hopped over to the machine—on one shoe, mind you—to pull my carry-on from the belt. Okay, now they’re making us do immunity challenges before we’re allowed to get on the plane.

Go ahead on,” I said, propping my foot against a chair to lace up. I love the awesome folding chairs the airports put by the X-ray machines, because that totally makes up for inhaling the Nike fumes of the entire population of the 7:20 flight to Newark. Who actually sits there? Who’s planting cheeks on a surface the rest of the world has used as, basically, the floor? They have an actual bench in Orlando’s airport, delicately painted with curlique d├ęcor on the sides—the better to slam your crosstrainers against.

They got out the bomb swipes. Have you seen these things? They’re little white disks, and the TSA rubs them all over the item in question to check for traces of explosives. I have throwaway touch-up sheets kind of like this. You dab them against your face to sop up unsightly shininess without smearing your makeup. I have passed many hours deeply reflecting upon both these objects, struggling to determine which better serves humanity.

Then began the Rummage Section of the TSA Official Terrorism Prevention Procedure, which involved looking askance at my YOU ARE IN MARGARITAVILLE AND I AM THE WOMAN TO BLAME keychain, probing a suspicious tube of Bonnie Bell lipgloss (“See, Dave, it’s the Metallic SuperShine. We’ll detain her for questioning, of course”) and verifying that, if the pictures of Jim the Baby Nephew in my wallet were twenties, I could have easily bought my own plane.

They put my purse back together, a task which, really, only the mighty arm of the United States federal government could achieve, seeing as tissues and mirrors and pens and Teddy Grahams and Zach Morris-sized cell phones explode out of there at each unzipping.

Well… that’s fine. You can’t be too careful. Check all day, TSA.

So I’m on the plane, and I’m sitting there, and I sense a need for an Emergency Face Swab. I got out the mighty-mighty carry on, the one that slid riiiiiiiiiiight through security, and opened my makeup bag, in which I had to move my Lady Gillette with all three of its blades in order to get to the face wipes.

But whew am I glad they fully vetted those Kleenex.

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