It's no secret that flying is stressful these days. I've often said that getting to the airport, parking, and mostly getting through security is the worst part of the trip. Flying as a "real" passenger this weekend really reinforced this feeling. I put my liquids in the little bottles, which I put in the little baggie, which I put in the side pocket of my suitcase for easy acess when it came time to take it out for security. I wear slip off shoes, the better to take on and off for the trip through the metal detector.
I make sure my phone and other metal is all out of my pockets . (I once was behind a woman in security who made the detector buzz three times until they discovered it was the 3 single serve containers of peanut butter, with a FOIL cover, that were in her pocket (?) that made the alarm go off.
So, peanut butter container out of pocket. Check. Phone out. Check. Computer out. Check. Shoes off. Check.
Ready for security. But, of course, the family ahead of me is not. They have apparently slept through 9-11 and all the changes that have happened since. They are also late for their flight. I know this because the husband screams this to his wife on 6 occasions in the 15 minutes we share together. Even though the TSA worker is repeating in a monotone "take off your shoes, remove metal from your pockets, take computers out your bags, etc.", they are doing none of this. The impatient husband is throwing his bags on the belt and shoving his way past other people to the walk though detector. This causes the alarm to go off, and the TSA says "Sir, please go back and wait your turn." I know this will illicit a bad reaction, and it does. Said "sir" turns around to wife (and two small children) and yells, "put your ffff...ign bags up here before we miss our flight" and as she does, small child no. 1 collapses in a heap on the floor and plays dead. ( I would too if he were my father.) Father is even more incensed and picks up the child who is now screaming at the top of his lungs and tries a second run through the detector, dragging his child by the arms. (At this point I notice the cigarette behind his ear, a comfort I guess, since he won't be able to smoke for at least the next couple of hours, or maybe sooner if they take him to jail where he belongs). Now, the TSA says, "Sir, ONE person at a time through the detector, and you have to wait until I tell you to come through." His voice is loud, and angry. The man (I have to stop calling him husband or father, because at this moment he is not worthy of either of these titles) turns his venom on his wife, with language that is truly too offensive to even repeat here, and then he adds "you're hopeless and you never do anything right." But, she does! The woman looks him right in the face and says "I've had it with you, I'm not going anywhere with you" and takes the two kids and her bags and walks away. I look at the other passengers and I can tell we all want to cheer, to hug her, but we don't. We continue on our own solitary journey through security.