Whoever said, “Getting there is half the fun” apparently didn’t fly to their destination. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not opposed to flying nor am I afraid of it (much).
However, I recently flew for the first time in nine years and I was startled by how air travel has changed.
The strict regulations about only taking three ounces of liquids in your carry-on were very stressful, because I like to wash my hair, condition my hair, spray my hair, spritz some perfume, brush my teeth and perhaps use mouthwash—all in the same week. Some might say I have vanity issues, but really it’s about being considerate about those around me. I do what I can.
I admit that since my husband and I were determined not to check any baggage, I did cheat and sneak some moisturizer and an extra tube of lip balm onto the plane. But I did feel guilty about this, so I left all of my new magazines once I was done reading them for the next passenger.
As if limiting my health and beauty aids were not anxiety-producing enough (I also failed to mention that 3 ounces of saline solution is not near enough for a week of contact lens care and I found that washing them out with Sprite was more painful than I imagined), we had to go through airport security.
Good old homeland security! I know now why we have been safe from the terrorists all these years. There is no way anybody is getting past the TSA guys. Picture this: we stand in a cattle-chute-type line with about 4,000 other people (if I exaggerate, it’s only a little) at 6 a.m. Everyone is shoeless, belt less, and smileless while the TSA workers have us put our laptops, I-pads, I-pods, shoes and make-up bags into government-issue Rubbermaid bins while they paw through our clean (hopefully!) laundry in front of complete strangers. Then some of us get to walk through an old-timey metal detector while other special people have a medical device give them an x-ray CAT scan to see if they are hiding any moisturizer or lip balm in case they decide take over the plane and give the pilot a makeover.
Apparently I’m a real danger to society and they didn’t like the looks of me because the TSA CAT scan machine indicated something sinister (ALERT: Christian, homeschool mom, never had a speeding ticket, reads her Bible, eats her vegetables, goes to bed too late), so I had to receive a patdown! I should have just handed over the moisturizer and lip balm.
Once safely inside the terminal, I decided to calm myself with a cup of coffee and some people-watching.
What made the long wait in security, the TSA x-ray and the pat down all worthwhile?
Seeing a bald man in a beige suit, wearing lime green tennis shoes, with a Dora the Explorer neck tattoo. I wonder if he was carrying lip balm and moisturizer.
Dawn Mast lives with her family in Broadway. She doesn’t take many vacations.