I was recently in an airport, shlepping through the security line with my shoes off (feeling like a total dork) when I got to the X-ray machine and the guy turned to his co-worker and said ‘Hey, can you take him?’ He meant me and he wanted me to go through one of those body scanners. The girl working the machine looked at me and waived for me to enter the scanner of death. I don’t know what possessed me, after all the airport security system has been designed to bring out the lemming in us but deciding to take a pointless stand I squeaked “Can I get a pat down instead?”
I’m not sure what I was expecting but the numerous articles and blog posts about the bullying and/or cluelessness of TSA officials at airports led me to expect a hassle to say the least. But, I figured, what the hell, I’ve got a couple of hours to kill.
Well, I have to say the process was very professional if a bit long. Nobody questioned why I didn’t want to go through the body scanner (and what would I say? I want to blog about my experience? Because the voices in my head tell me not to?) and the dude who did the pat down gave me the option of going somewhere private (I declined as I didn’t feel we were properly introduced and he hadn’t even bought me a drink) or out in the open (I figured it’d give people something to watch while they were putting their shoes back on). He told me exactly what he was going at every stage of the procedure. When he was done he swabbed his rubber gloves and ran them through an ion scanner (I assume to check for explosive residue but they can also search for narcotics). The pat down was thorough (I think we’d be engaged in some countries after what he did to me) and nobody on my flight could have had the slightest concern that I was hiding anything nefarious.
Of course I came through with flying colors (else I’d be writing this from some undisclosed location) but I had a new found respect for the TSA. At least in that airport.
So, never let it be said that we only criticize here at TwShiloh. A big thumbs up to the TSA for a job well done.