I Swear, Osama Could Have Walked Right Through, and They Would Have Missed Him
My roommate and I took the red eye to Boston Wednesday night – and discovered the fun of getting “randomly” picked for extra security checks. We aren’t sure if we were flagged because I bought both the tickets on my card – it’s possible because once before when a fellow employee bought her ticket and mine, I had to go through the extra security. But this time the extra screening was pretty intense, especially when you consider we represent the absolute LOWEST risk – you’ve got a UCLA Law School grad with an Irish name who was born and bred in one of the original colonies and a harmless marketing director who was born in probably one of the most innocuous countries (sorry Canada) and grew up in freakin’ Tampa Bay.
Needless to say – it was annoying. Millie made it pretty funny – as the screener told her she was going to “touch her backside,” Millie looked over at me and said, “She’s gonna touch my ass!” The poor screener said, “No!” and looked terribly embarrassed. We had a good laugh at that point.
I swear, every damn item in my carry-ons was removed and screened with those wand things – they attach a piece of cloth to it, wipe the over your crap, then put the cloth in a machine that can detect explosives.
Thing is – they had tagged our tickets with all these SSSSSSs and that meant we had to go through a different entrance. Then, get this, you know how they have grey bins for all the crap you have to pull out of your suitcases? You know, where you dump your laptop, liquids in a baggie, shoes, coat, and for me, a knee brace. They have special RED ONES for the people getting the extra special screening.
They really make you feel like a criminal – first you are there with your special screaming-red bins for your crap, then they let you go through the metal detector and stand in this “corralled” area surrounded by ropes on three sides and with a pair of feet silhouetted on the floor in case you are too stupid to know your feet go on the floor in this tiny corral. Then they yell out for a FEMALE check – and you wait until they open the rope and walk you over to the now-we-are-gonna-inspect-all-your-harmless-junk area. They make you stand on another footy silhouette and inform you they are going to pat you down and to let them know if you are uncomfortable. Well hell yeah I’m uncomfortable!
Then they go slowly through all my stuff – mind you, I had removed my metal leg brace to go through the detector so I’m standing there feeling very vulnerable – I finally asked, “Can I sit down?” Which they allowed.
Meanwhile, Millie is waiting behind the special gate for the extra-special-people-who-require-for-god-knows-what-reason-extra-scrutiny.
Eventually they finished up with us – and I commented something to the effect that the bad guys were walking through while they were preoccupied with the least-likely-people-on-earth-to-cause-a-problem. She responded, “Yeah! There goes Osama!”
And we had a good laugh about how patently absurd the whole process is. Criminy. If you are spending all your time on the lowest risk people, who’s paying attention when the next Mohammed Atta walks up to the metal detector?