From reading one of my previous posts, you would know that I have a difficult time going through airport security. So I make a game out of trying not to “beep” the metal detector. I usually win; but not last time on our recent return from Hawaii.
As we went through security at Kailua-Kona airport, I did my usual emptying of my pockets into my upturned fedora. However, I left two film cans in my pocket this time – it is high speed film taken with our under-water camera while we snorkeled on the Big Island. I didn’t want the powerful X-ray to cloud my tropical fish pictures.
BEEP! “Would you step back through the metal detector, please, sir” the TSA agent says. Realizing it had to be the film cans setting off the detector, I removed them from my pocket and attempted to hand them to the TSA agent. Nope - I had to walk through the metal detector again, film cans in hand. BEEP!
“Step over here, sir” the TSA agent monotones. “The reason why we have to check you is because you set off the detector twice”. (Duh! I set if off twice because the film cans are still in my hand.) They have me gather all my things together from the X-ray belt and move to a section behind a glass partition. All the while I’m still holding the two film cans in my hand.
“We can take you someplace more private to do this if you would like, sir”. TSA agent now says. Like why!?! Are they going to strip search me? The TSA agent puts on a pair of purple latex gloves. I swallow hard.
They have me put the film cans on the table and I sit in a chair and kick off my low-security Crocks. He picks up a metal detector wand and begins wanding my feet – nothing! He then he has me stand on a mat, my legs apart and arms outstretched. I look like the drawing Leonardo da Vinci made of the guy in the circle. The TSA agent begins wanding the outline of my body – nothing. He seems disappointed. He wands his wrist watch to verify the detector is still working – Beep! Yup, it works.
He then begins wanding up between my legs. I stare at the horizon – silence. The wand lingers a little bit longer in the vicinity of my groin than I am comfortable with. I'm wondering now just how badly this guy wants to find metal in my pants? Again, he tests the wand on his wrist watch. Beep! Yes, it's still apparently working.
“I’m going to pat you down, now, sir.” TSA agent now says. I now become curious just how much “patting” I am going to get? I’m just wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I stare again at the horizon… but this is getting creepy.
As I am standing there with my arms outstretched being patted down, I turn to the other assisting TSA agent and suggest: “Just out of curiosity, can you wand the film cans there?” He waves the wand over a film can – Beep! They now decide to turn their attention to the film, testing it for traces of explosives residue. Nada! The disappointment is palpable.
Unless they want me to strip naked, they are out of options at this point. My wife hands me my jacket and we head to our gate.
It must be an incredibly boring job being a TSA agent. Like being a fireman where there’s never a fire; like being the sheriff of Mayberry. He probably went home all excited and told his wife about me today: “Honey, guess what happened at work today!!”
The TSA has made me hate flying.