Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Want the Airways to Be Safe. I Want the Airways to be Safe.

Well, I'm finally home, so I will kiss the frozen soil and call it good.

Do I look like a terrorist to you?

Yesterday, I was "computer selected" for the TSA special security screening. Which meant that they asked me to stand on one side of a partition and watch in stunned humilitaion ( well, they didn't require the humiliation... I added that myself), while on the other side of the partition, a specially trained screener unpacked both my suitcases and checked them for.... whatever. And when I say unpacked my suitcases - - I mean completely. Not one thing left in any pocket in the whole bag. She unfolded all my clothes, looked through every single prescription and toiletry product, and felt up all my underwear which I pack in little rolled bundles.

And she was swabbing the inside of everything, and said something to her trainee about checking for residue. I wonder if I'm more or less likely to be put on the watch-list when they test those swabs and come up with anti-wrinkle lotion, zit cream, and baby oil. Because what kind of freak would use that combo, right? Oh, and Midnight Pomegranate spray from Bath and Body Works. That'll be on there too.

The part that made me crazy (well, crazier than normal) was when she picked up my jewelry travel bag upside down, and all my earrings fell out. Of course the penalties are severe if you reach over the partition, so I had to help her search for all my earrings by talking her through it.

After that I just watched the clock on the wall, and wondered what exactly she was going to do when she couldn't get all my stuff and the 2 pillows I had brought back into the bag. Because it had taken me all morning, the expansion zipper, a crowbar and a shoehorn get everything in there in the first place. And, you know, watching each second slowly tick by while I stood waiting in the airport was about 50 times less frustrating than watching that woman repack my stuff. The whole thing took 27 minutes. Just in case you were wondering.

But the fun just kept on coming, because while she was stuffing things back into my suitcase, my name was paged to please come to the ticket counter, where they wanted to change my seat because they were seating some federal marshals and convicts in the front of the plane. And they needed my seat, and would I mind moving to the back of this tiny little puddle jumper plane?


All I can think of at this point is the movie The Fugitive.

Then I was of course automatically selected to be strip searched (well, not quite) through the people screeners. While they were patting me down (seriously) in one area, they were going through my carry on bags in the other area. And again taking every single thing out of every single pocket. They even took all the bread I was carrying out of the paper shopping bag - breaking one of the handles in the process. I guess I'm lucky they I didn't get the bread sliced, or it could have taken so much longer. As it was, I ended up being the very last person on the plane, but at least I got a good look at all the convicts on the way to my seat - so I could identify them during the police search.

Eventually I did make it home. My mom is recovering well from her surgery. And I should be back in full swing today. Should be.

Mainly I'm trying to figure out why it's always so hard for me to get back to reality after being gone. You'd think I'd just jump back in with extra energy, but that's just not how my brain works. I HATE coming home to mail, voice mail, email, and tons of stuff that I have been procrastinating for 2 weeks.
It takes a day or two for me to even want to be back to my routine. Speaking of which, I have wayyy more posts in my Google Reader than I will ever be able to get to. Please forgive me if I just jump in from today!

Or possibly tomorrow.


kristen said...

Dude. Call me a bigot, but it bugs that the average citizen is being searched, as you were, when we all know who the typical terrorist is. I'm sorry, but this is a violation of OUR civil rights. You are anything but a terrorist. (I'll stop while I'm ahead.....)

I'm so sorry for your experience. I would be seriously agitated.

Earl said...

Heaven forbid that they PROFILE someone and search THEM. Nope, can't actually search someone who actually fits the profile. Hey, they could just announce loudly that air marshals and prisoners are going to be on EVERY flight, what self respecting terrorist would take THAT flight?

Melissa said...

I've always thought you were a terrorist... taking over the world one blog post at a time... uncovering secret government plots like the error with the flags and such.
Seriously though, I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. Ah... the friendly skies. This is why I shove my family in the car and drive 15 hours each way... hope your mom is doing well!

Caroline said...

and now you have to rewash all your clothes because I'm going to assume you're as OCD as me about strangers touching my things. ewwww.

Heather said...

Ughh. That is HORRIBLE. I hate when they dig through your stuff- I have been on the random search many times myself.

Kimberly said...

I got randomly searched on my way back to Canada once. I mean, dude, what terrorist would attack CANADA?


Sorry for the stress. Soooo frustrating not to be able to make sarcastic remarks at them during the process, isn't it?

JustRandi said...

Kim- seriously that was the hardest part!! From the very beginning when I wanted to say, "be careful when you open that thing. It's so full it's going to explode!" To the very end I was thinking of sarcastic comments, and trying VERY VERY hard to remember that she's just doing her job.

I would like to talk to whomever is in charge of that screening process, though. I have a few comments about the ridiculous random selection process.

Yvonne said...

I don't understand how they pick em--nothing like watching my poor 89 year old mother in law go through the same kind of thing because of two hip replacements and she makes everything beep when she goes through!!!

Sorry you had to go through that--it definitely doesn't sound like it was much fun.

So glad your mom is recovering.

Janell said...

Great, now I can never read your blog again for fear that my association with you will make me the TSA's next target.

I think I'll start a hobby of trying to confuse the x-ray people. One year I had two 20 lbs of potatoes in a suitcase. By my reckoning, some poor worker inspected every single potato for 15 lbs of potato before giving up. Apparently I was just smuggling Idaho potatoes to areas without cheap potatoes and not anything more offensive.

Nancy Face said...


I am so afraid of flying, and I never could have gotten on "The Fugitive" plane! AAAGGGHHH!!!

So sorry for your frustration and humiliation!

"Vern" said...

Wow. I've been randomly searched before but not like THAT! Were you wearing a U of U shirt or something?

Tonya said...

Oh boy, that sounds like a nightmare for sure. I'm sorry you had to go through that.


Yvonne said...

Gotta love vern's comment!!!

Sue said...

I knew there was something shady about you.

Seriously, skip all the old posts. Going back and commenting = INSANE. Unless we're talking about my blog. ;>

Sue said...

I knew there was something shady about you.

Seriously, skip all the old posts. Going back and commenting = INSANE. Unless we're talking about my blog. ;>

East of Eden said...

There is nothing, in my book, more enjoyable than having my 4th Amendments rights violated! Serioulsy, I agree with Earl on this....lets start profiling. Grandma Irene from Iowa, not a threat....Muhammed, just back from Pakistan, a threat.


I wonder however, what would happen if someone actually said, "No, you cannot search my bags with out probable cause, a search warrent and a good reason."

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

I am SO ANAL about how I pack our suitcases when we travel. Seriously. The kids' outfits in individual ziploc bags. My own socks, underwear, etc. sorted into other ziploc bags. Shoes in, you guessed it, ziploc bags. Everything is sorted just so and in its place for a reason. I would probably be foaming at the mouth and pacing, while the security people completely messed up my own little private OCD world. And then I would totally have to wash everything since it all would have been touched by strangers.

so grateful to be Mormon! said...

sorry randi that you had to go through that. sounds miserable. really glad you didn't say out loud, "be careful opening that because it might EXPLODE." then you really would have been delayed and cuffed probably.

thank you for the sweet comment you told me yesterday. you are so awesome.

glad you are back hon,
kathleen :)