March 13, 2008

Where have all the serious screeners gone?

I am so angry right now. I’m sitting in the airport right now, having missed my flight by 2 minutes. There is nothing worse than missing a flight by that small of a margin… except maybe missing it by that small of a margin because the jerky perv in security delayed me because he wanted to flirt with me longer.

I got to the airport at 4:15, with the flight at 4:30. That was just exactly enough time to buy a ticket, get through security, and get to the gate before it closed. Bought my ticket, saw the SSSSS note (that means special screening), and sprinted over ot the security checkpoint brandishing it like a Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka’s factory. Today the guy had forgotten his highlighter, so he used a black sharpie to mark it (I learned the other day from a friend who works for American Airlines that TSA regulations actually specify that it needs to be marked with a highlighter… my friend said he always gives them grief for forgetting it when they use something else). I had no time for grief, but they put me through to the front of the line and all was well. I whipped out my laptop and liquids, kicked off my shoes and threw off my coat and blazer like a prostitute in Spitzer’s bedroom (too soon?), and was through the puff test in sixty seconds flat (in Boston, they use an electronic puffer machine instead of groping – we’re a bit sluttier in NYC). Didn’t have to wait for a screener to grab my bags either – the guy was ready and waiting. Unfortunately, extra emphasis on the “ready”.

As we walked over to the special screening area, the guy started looking me up and down. I mean, looking at me… you know. So then he starts being all flirty: “So, are you in town for an interview?” “No, I’m here for work.” “Ohhhhh… and what do you do?” “I’m in consulting.” Through all of this, the guy has not even looked at my bags – he just continues to stare at my chest. (I should also add that I’m wearing a button down that is buttoned all the way up, and a blazer. There is no cleavage to be seen.) In desperation, I point out that it’s the final boarding call and that my flight is about to leave. His response? “Oh, you’ll make it.” At least now he pays some attention to my bags, but he keeps pausing to chat with me, and at that point, I know it’s over. He continues to ask me if the company pays for my flights/hotels/food, etc, exclaiming over each perk. The best part was when he asked me if you need a high school diploma to become a consultant and get these perks. Yes. Yes, you do.

Ten minutes later (yes, ten minutes when it normally takes three or fewer), the guy finishes swabbing my suitcase. I throw it off the table and snatch my ticket out of hands almost before he’s done marking the circle that indicates that my screening is complete. I’m running away as fast as I can, but as I round the corner, I see it’s too late… the gate is closed, and my plane is gone.

It is only an hour till the next flight. Still, the 4:30 flight is usually on time, whereas the 5:30 is usually delayed. And the 5:30 flight is always full while the 4:30 is a bit roomier.

Well, at least there’s a chance I’ll get “stuck” in a middle seat between two hot guys about my age. After all, the New York Times claims that “a flight is the perfect environment to meet someone and have an unofficial first date.” We can always hope!


8 thoughts on “Where have all the serious screeners gone?”

  1. I clicked to this post via the “you may also like” feature.

    Sometimes you write with passion, and your subject gets lost.
    Sometimes you write mechanically, and your passion gets lost.

    This post found that sweet spot. Do you have any recollection about how you may have channeled the energy of being so upset into such an interesting and engaging post? (in regard to the March 13, 2008, “where have all the serious screeners gone?”)

    1. One of the challenges I’m trying to work on is that when I was writing in the 2008-2010 timeframe, I was completely anonymous – the only people who read my blog were internet strangers and you couldn’t find it by Googling my name. Now that that’s changed, and also now that I’m more senior in my career, I tend to censor myself instead of being quite so blunt. That’s something I’m trying to work on lately, but would really appreciate any feedback you could provide on current posts that you feel either really hit or really miss the mark! I always love your comments, Danny 🙂

  2. How does one find the sweet spot between writing authentically and writing cleanly? 🙂 I think you already know the answer!

    If you aim high, that is if you desire to write virtuously, then you will not have to worry about censoring. What is censoring anyway? If i need to censor myself then maybe i am not ready to write about that topic, maybe i am not quite thinking rightly for the moment.

    Hmm, that is interesting, i have brought up that phrase before. 🙂

    You know what i find interesting? I can never decide what i find intriguing about your writing. There is something there, but I’m not sure what….

    1. I don’t know that I follow your point – I think it’s more that there are things I think in my head or would say to my friends, but don’t necessarily want publicized for all to see. Several years ago I worried less about that, both because I was anonymous and was more junior in my career, with less to lose from being blunt.

  3. I tried to explain. And I got close to a 1000 words. So I thought I would try to re-frame my 1000 words as a stand-a-lone blog post. Should be up in a day or so!

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