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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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Good reads, grownups only

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Have they imroved the area where you get searched - I travelled in the first year post 9/11 and they had this open marked area on the floor where the 400 people waiting for the x-ray machine could watch in interest to find out exactly what had made you terror worthy (as for me: I had to remove every clip or pin in my hair - but there was this present 'threat' of getting nudy in public - which was not so erotic)

Oh, you have won my "Best Writing of the Week Award" which comes with no cash or other prizes for your use of this phrase: "the vagaries of my depilatory practices" - How elegant you manage to make "so people see how hairy I might be" sound instead.


Heh heh -- glad you liked that.

As for privacy, you know, I honestly couldn't tell you whether the area has improved. I was completely visible to the stream of other passengers-to-be at all times, but I have heard of other people being offered the option of privacy. (Jana has a hair-raising story about being given the employee break room. And then being walked in on while still getting dressed by an employee who had no idea she was still in there. And then complaining about this, quite appropriately, to the TSA.) I don't know what it takes for them to offer you privacy in the first place. I don't know if you have to request it.

On the return trip, after I'd been wanded and swabbed and patted down, I stood at the table where all the belongings are placed after being screened. I was putting on my belt and shoe next to an ordinary-looking, apparently able-boded guy putting on his belt and shoes next to an ordinary-looking, apparently able-bodied couple putting on their shoes, etc., and I said to the guy next to me, "Geez, this is just like being in a locker room," and he agreed. I don't really mind as long as we aren't actually stripping. In truth it's sort of equalizing, and as long as it is equalizing and not singling out on bigoted bases, that might even be exactly what certain travelers find particularly annoying.

At Logan I saw an Indian couple having their bags searched. I don't know if this is routine for travelers bearing foreign passports, if they were being racially profiled unfairly, if this was random, or if something in their bags had triggered this, but regardless of the reason, they were bearing the inconvenience with far better grace than a perfectly ordinary-looking (for Massachusetts), apparently able-bodied, middle-class and middle-aged white man who was asked to join me at the examination bench and acted like he had never in his life had to go through security before, and didn't they know he was a very important person with things to do and places to go, and oh, the nerve, and oh, the indignity. I haven't even flown in 12 years, and I expected far worse than any of us suffered, and certainly not for the security people to be so uniformly respectful and even affable, so I confess I was a little amused. He was like a living icon of privilege, and if I'd said so to him, he would have been pissed but also not really known what I was talking about.

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

Sounds like it was all pretty painless, thank goodness. The only thing I'm wondering at this point though, is whether you had to pay extra for the swabbing of the socket. Sounds kinky ;)


So not kinky. Soooooo not. Sorry to pop that bubble. But think about somebody quickly swiping the fuselage of a motorcycle (or whatever it's called; that teardrop-shaped part right behind the handlebars) with a cotton ball and walking away. That's the level of engagement we're talking about here.

I'm sure someone somewhere has developed elaborate fantasies and roleplaying practices about airport security. It's a natural. Fortunately, though, such complications never entered into my actual experience!


I'm glad to hear that Logan was okay. In my experience, smaller airports tend to be nicer, if only because they aren't as busy and are dealing more with local folks. Although, sometimes the larger places are better because they've just got more experience with the whole process and it goes more smoothly, even when something out-of-the-ordinary happens.

I don't have any good stories to share. Apparently my father-in-law almost got himself arrested when he tried to bring a wine-country picnic basket on a plane. It contained something that could be used as a weapon - a corkscrew, maybe? But that's about it. It's just a longer, more annoying (and unnecessary) process these days.

Oh, and the swabbing is for some sort of explosive residue, I think. I've seen them run that little patch of fabric over luggage before. Last time we flew, we went through a big puff-of-air machine that somehow detected the same stuff, but from our entire bodies. Weird.


That's interesting. I have never seen the big puff-of-air machine. Where was that?

I know what you mean about small vs. large airports. What's funny about that is that the only person I met who wasn't smiling, who in fact seemed to take everything very, very seriously and would brook no pleasantries, was a woman at the smallest airport I visited, the Long Beach airport, and she was one of the people processing the luggage. She seemed to think we should all keep very serious and not smile, certainly not smile, and she made it a point to return no one's. She was professional enough, though, not mean or offensive, and just seemed to take her job very seriously, and also maybe to feel a bit extra-pressured that day.

It can't be easy dealing with a stream of predisposed-to-be-annoyed people every day, even such small streams as you find at such a small airport.


Oops, I've been remiss in checking comments. The puff-of-air machine was at Bradley (Hartford/Springfield). It's like a phone booth thing you stand it that goes "Poof" and blows air up your skirt (or whatever you happen to be wearing). Pretty soon we'll have the retinal scans.

I imagine the luggage area doesn't really bring out the best in people, so it would be hard to work there. Can you imagine having a job like that when you're having a bad day? Ugh.

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