Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Airport

First off, let's hear three cheers for free Wi-Fi!

Now down to brass tacks. Why is is that two people can block the entire aisle in the airport? I'm not talking about the narrow aisle on the plane, I get that, but rather the 10 yard wide corridor that stretches down the A concourse.

There should be room to fit 10 people side by side, but no. The corridor was blocked by two people moving side to side like they are on a ship in a hurricane; for every foot of forward progress there were three feet of lateral movement.

Then when I got past them, dodging their sway like Ulysses navigating the treacherous path between Scylla and Charybdis, there's a person just standing there in the middle of the corridor. Waiting for someone? I don't know. Just standing there with a vacant look, not looking at the line in Starbucks, or reading the monitors for arriving and departing flights. Waiting for a clue, perhaps, or the moment of clarity that helps alcoholics find the path to recovery...

Oh yeah, and there was the lady at the security checkpoint that thought she was the only one in the world with a black Targus laptop bag and tried to abscond with mine. She must not be a frequent traveler. She got chewed out by one of the Heros from the TSA, who keep us safe from liquids and aerosols, because she put her laptop bag in the tray, and then set her laptop on the bag, when we all know that the laptop needs to go through by itself in a separate container. Coincidentally, this is why my bag came through first, they ahd to run hers through again. But hey, at least she didn't try to get away with a small bottle of hand sanitizer that wasn't protected by a 1-quart ziplock bag.

I'll admit it. I did that once. To my credit, I didn't know the 0.5 fl oz container of hand sanitizer was at the bottom of my bag, for I had scanned that bag dozens of times at dozens of airports and nobody ever noticed it. That is, until I got to Green Bay, Wisconsin, the absolute heart of white-bread mid-America, and apparently a terrorist haven.

The Hero from the TSA carefully examined my black Targus laptop bag and found the offending item.

"Do you have a 1-quart zip lock bag to put this in?" She asked me, knowing that zip lock can contain any form of liquid explosive.

"No," I answered, primarily because I didn't have one, but I was also curious to see what would happen.

She threw the hand sanitizer away. Had a zip lock bag been available (a 1-quart bag, mind you, no bigger, no smaller), I would have been able to keep it.

That's how screwed up our government is. And do we really need to wonder why we are in such an economic mess? How misplaced is our faith that the same congress that passed the laws about liquid in airplanes will be able to fix the recession?

I know. Let's just put the economy in a zip lock bag. That will keep it safe. Just make sure it's a 1-quart bag...


Crimogenic said...


"Just standing there with a vacant look, not looking at the line in Starbucks, or reading the monitors for arriving and departing flights." You had me rolling over laughing.

Don't feel too bad about your hand sanitizer. I made the mistake of not removing mase from my bag, and um, needless to say I was pulled aside and asked one hundred questions and signed off on a document that said I knew why I was being detained. They eventually let me make my flight though. Silly me.

Anita said...

I think the reason they use the bags is to limit the amount of a liquid you can take on board...over a certain amount and a bad liquid can become very, very bad.

My husband has "jobs" in various capacities in which he learns the extreme need for our country to remain vigilant and patient in airports.

I think your view of the whole airport scenario is funny, but I take every chance I can to remind people we need to be alert and compliant.

Rick Daley said...

I always comply with the TSA, and I'm very patient because I would rather wait than explode, in any case.

I still like to make fun of the process, though. It's almost too easy, but I just can't resist.

Anita said...

I volunteered at our airport during a busy day, the people that go through the wonder the TSA folks always seem a little off. The system does seem screwed up at many points...but something must be working (she said with fingers crossed).

Rick Daley said...

Flying is still safer than driving, statistically.

The airlines themselves do a phenominal job. I've never lost my luggage, although I did beat it home twice. One time I was on standby for an earlier flight, so that was the price for getting home bag was checked on the later flight regardless. The other time I was coming home from Germany and the bag didn't clear customs in time to make my final connection.

That was an interesting day. It was last October 10, my birthday, and due to the time zones I crossed it was actually my birthday for 30 hours!