I had an interesting experience with the TSA last weekend, on my way home from a short vacation. First, I want to mention that I never get stopped in the security line at the airport. I never have to go through scanning more than once. My bags generally pass though on the belt with no problem. Therefore, I gave little thought to going through airport security Sunday afternoon.
I was cleared to go through Pre-TSA but my husband was not, being the sweet, loving, supportive wife that I am, I hung out with him in the long security line instead of ducking out and taking the shorter, easier route. This was a mistake. When my turn finally came, my bags made it through fine but I did not. I obeyed the petite TSA agent working the body scanner, positioned myself on the painted feet and put my hands above my head. Then I walked out of the scanner and stood in front of the larger, more foreboding agent waiting for him to wave me on (daydreaming about finding an iced coffee somewhere). As I stood there, the large, blond male agent was suddenly replaced with Olga, the ex-Russian wrestler, turned woman’s prison guard, now working for the TSA. She completely blocked my exit and then motioned to a picture of my body scan (I am not sure she used words). The screen showed three large dots over my private parts (it looked like I was wearing matching yellow underwear) and one small yellow dot on my wrist.
I looked at her in disbelief and immediately held out my naked wrist for inspection. She wasn’t impressed. I was speechless but she was not. She immediately began telling me what was going to happen. I listened to her, stunned and a bit embarrassed. She went on and on and on in a low monotone voice explaining what she was going to do in order to “investigate” the yellow dots. I am sure my mouth was hanging open and I was blinking. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME….this is a joke, right? A test to see how people react? Understand, I wasn’t wearing any jewelry (no hidden body piercing under the yellow dots), nothing in my jean pockets…I wasn’t even wearing makeup! I was pretty calm up until she asked me if I understood and if I wanted to go behind a privacy screen. OMG! I declined, but now I am worried I didn’t fully understand what she was going to do. Why else would you need a privacy screen?!
Then it began. The pat down, which included lifting my top (twice) so she could feel around the waist band of my pants and of course, touching the rest of my body. She did seem to be quick and respectful which I was grateful for. Especially since I was providing a good distraction and entertainment for the other passengers waiting to get through the line. Honestly, I always look, wondering who they caught. I will never do that again! My body search concluded with a hand wipe and scan. Of course, nothing came up.
When we were almost done, I felt semi brave and asked why I was flagged? Olga just shrugged and said sometimes its loose clothing. I thanked her towards the end of our visit. Why? I don’t know. Except, I appreciate their diligence to keeping the friendly skies safe. I didn’t tell her that though, I didn’t want them to think I was trying to suck up or cause a distraction giving them any reason to detain me longer. I did have on loose clothing, top and bottom. I have lost weight and decided to wear my comfy loose jeans to travel in. However, I am now considering purchasing a pair of black leggings. Then they wouldn’t have to pat me down, they could see everything!
My husband was moving our items off the belt when I was finished. It felt like an hour but I guess it was only 5 minutes or so. What was his comment once we cleared security? With wide eyes he declares, “wow, that was intense!” I have to agree. Next time I am leaving him in the dust and taking the Pre-TSA option.