IT'S ALL ABOUT AIRPORT SECURITY...
In light of the tragic events of September
11th, airport security around our country has been increased. Security checkpoint personnel must be U.S.
citizens, bags are randomly hand searched, and bomb-sniffing dogs are being utilized. There is no standard that guides these
changes and measures seem to vary greatly from airport to airport. But has anything really changed? Has security improved?
Are we any safer? I don’t think so.
My first post 9/11 flight was with spousal
unit, Mark, and stepteen, known as “E”, to Michigan to visit the
in-laws, lovingly known as the Judge and the Hillbilly. Security at Sky Harbor
Airport in Phoenix was much stricter
than before, not that that is really saying much. We had to show picture identification four times within the terminal—at
our airline of choice’s baggage check-in, at security, at the gate to get our “cattle call” boarding numbers
and again prior to boarding the plane. At security, I had to take off my foot gear (I could see their point, they were combat
boots, no matter that they were Chanel) and submit them to the x-ray machine as well. Mark was one of the blessed chosen who
get their bags searched prior to boarding the plane. E and I were not asked to participate in “What’s in Your
Bag?” and merrily boarded the plane without him, offering to save him a seat. When we made our connection, we had to
briefly show our I.D.s to the gate agent at check-in in Chicago. She gave them
about as much attention as I do my neighbor when she begins her rant about how our neighborhood “…doesn’t
even have an IHOP for cripe’s sake...” As in, yawn…whatever. And once again, Marky-poo was stopped for the dreaded hand baggage search.
After a cold visit, in which the Redwings
barely pulled off a New Year’s Eve win at the Joe, we began our journey back to warmth. Security in Michigan
was nowhere near as intense as it had been in Arizona. However, this time in
Chicago, Mark was subject to several minutes of “wanding” at security
by an intense little turbaned man that turned up a handful of overlooked pocket change and some prehistoric jean lint. I must
admit, it was amusing to watch him stand there as the wand went off every time it passed a rivet in his 501s. I desperately
wanted to make a smart comment a la’ Spinal Tap like “Is that an Armadillo
in your trousers?” but given the current state of safety concerns, I felt it was best to avoid giving security any other
reason to detain him. Submitting him to a full-body cavity search by Brunhilda the Rhein Maiden earnestly searching for said
contraband armadillo, would surely have ended my marriage. And if she didn’t
find one, well, you know it wouldn’t have been for lack of looking.
He also was asked to play “What’s
in Your Bag”, the pre-board search, in Michigan and Chicago.
Although he understood the need for this measure, he was a little peevish that neither “E” nor I were ever asked
to display the motley contents of our carry on bags to the powers that be. I gently explained to him, in dulcet tones using
small words, that terrorists do not wear lime green jeans, big silver jewelry and tote brand spanking new Prada bags. If I
were a terrorist, I would not have bothered to coordinate an outfit, shower, put on make up and do my hair. I mean really!
If I were planning on blowing myself up, I would have opted for an extra 45 minutes of sleep and I sure as Hell wouldn’t
have needlessly sacrificed good baggage. To be honest, I just don’t think that there are any Shiite Methodists running
around. We have already moved away from Calvinism, so what would we be fighting for?
My second air trip just weeks later, took
me to Washington, D.C., for business. Security in Phoenix
already was pretty much back to “normal”. I was asked for I.D. three times, but made it through security with
footwear intact. Same boots, but this time, the Chanel Gods must have been looking out for me. They didn’t even ask
me to turn on my trusty laptop to prove that it was not a clever replica molded out of C5 and acrylic nail gel for the sole
evil purpose of taking out a planeload of tired commuters on a five hour red-eye flight. Go figure.
After 5 days of snow, business, sightseeing
and some excellent Chinese food (and not necessarily in that order) I was back at Reagan International to make my way once
again towards West Coast warmth. Security there was about as strict as a nun after a couple of stiff drinks. The only visible
security measure was no curbside check-in, which I suffered severe heartburn over. Trying to get out of a cab with no help
whatsoever from my silent and watchful driver whose name I couldn’t begin to pronounce and wrestle my plethora of baggage
into the airport and down to check-in is not something I would wish on my worst enemy, err...maybe. Why having to trudge around
toting your own baggage increases security, I’ll never know. I think it would increase problems as then you have hoards
of already crabby solo traveling chicks who become full-blown “Biatches” after being forced to alternately yank
and shove multiple bags through seemingly endless miles of airport corridors.
With very few exceptions, those being pro-wrestlers
and feminists, when women travel without a man, we expect there to be “rent-a-men” available along the way in
the form of skycaps, bellhops, doormen, etc. that we tip a few dollars to take care of drudgery things for us like hauling