Sunday, June 24, 2012

I'm a Threat (According to Airport Security)

We made it. Finally in Arizona, and now trying to get things to 'normal' around here (seriously, what is this normal thing and why is it so necessary). We had some rough spots in the whole trying-to-get-here process, like the shady movers, the car guy, how my computer refuses to let me blog (once we got here) and how the cats don't want to play nice, which I will of course expand upon in future posts. But today, Inklingers, I want to cover the actual getting here (go ahead and put your Tatted Mom's Ranting seat belts on now, 'cause it's coming).

We chose to fly from a larger airport about 3 hours from where we lived in an effort to save about $300. That meant leaving early, with 2 kids and 2 cats, and having my dad drive us up there. Silly me, I didn't even bother to check the weather for the day, but apparently it was calling for storms... nasty ones... one of which we hit on the drive. Of course The Girl, who worries about everything, is freaking out about flying in a storm. The storm cleared, she calmed down, all was good... Yeah, think that if you want.

Check in at the airport went remarkably smooth, even with 2 cats. They didn't even check the health certificates I paid $90 for, which pissed me off. If I paid $90 for 2 pieces of paper saying my cats didn't have rabies or the zombie virus, then damnit, you better want to see them. Dad had an emotional goodbye with us, and left us at the security check point... me, 2 kids, 2 cats, 2 book bags, a laptop, and a purse. Please keep that in mind for the next part of this story...

courtesy of
I approached the podium, boarding passes in hand.

Airport Employee: Ma'am, I need your ID.
Me: Shit, okay, hold on one sec, I left it in my purse. Sorry. (I put down the cat, put down my purse, and started rummaging through it, found my ID, and handed it to him.)
Second Airport Employee: Ma'am, I'm going to need to see the palms of your hands for a minute, please.
Me: Huh?
2nd: Please put the palms of your hands up.
Me: (Making the High 5 motion)
2nd: (laughs) No, ma'am, face up, like this (he puts his hands out like my kids do when they want a piece of whatever I'm eating).
Me: Okay (putting hands palms up), but why?

2nd: Because it's part of our security procedures.
Me: Since when? (He starts swabbing the palms of my hand with a wand thingie that's wet.)
2nd: For a while now, ma'am.
Me: I just flew a year and a half ago and they didn't do it.
2nd: Oh, that surprises me, ma'am. It's standard procedure and has been for years now.
Me: Why? What are you checking for? (I'm worse than a 2 year old sometimes.)
2nd: (finishing up the swabbing) Well, ma'am, we check for traces of explosive substances.
Me: (looking at him, then my 2 kids and 2 cats) Oh. Good to know.

So, I picked up our crap and headed to the actual security check. There is no employee on our side of the check, just some douche on the other side of the metal detector, barking orders at people.

Douche: Put all of your bags on the belt to pass through the x-ray machine.
Me: These 2 are cats. Do they go through the x-ray machine?
Douche: (Rolls eyes) No, take the cats out of the carrier, pass the carrier through the x-ray machine, then hold the cats while you go through the metal detector.
(We start to take the cats out.)
Douche: Is that a laptop (looking at my laptop bag)?
Me: Yep, that's what's in a laptop bag. (Putting cats back in their bags so we don't have cats running around.)
Douche: You need to open the bag, and place it in a bin to be passed through the x-ray machine.
Me: (Opening the laptop bag, and placing the opened laptop bag in a bin)
Douche: NO! Put just the laptop in a bin, by itself.
Me: Oh, you didn't say that.
Douche: (looking at my kids trying to go through the metal detector) Whoa! Shoes off in a bin (points to a bin).
Me: Seriously, dude? Instructions in the beginning would be nice. (We all remove our shoes and put them in a bin.)
Douche: Do you have any electronic devices in your pockets?
Me: (Holding up phone)
Douche: In the bucket.
Me: Are we good now, can we come through?
Douche: Remove the cats from their carriers, hold them while going through, pass the carriers through the x-ray machine.
(The Ginger goes through the metal detector, The Girl is holding up her cat, I have Bones, and we all get through, successfully. Meanwhile, a huge line of angry people has formed behind us.)
Douche: Your kids can put their shoes back on and get their bags, but you need to go see that man (points to an older gentleman) for further security checks.
Me: What? You're kidding, right? (Holding up cat for him to see.)
(Douche ignores me.)

The kids and I put the cats back in their carriers, and I told them to put their shoes on and grab their bags while I reported to the older gentleman, as instructed. The line of angry flyers behind me was growing, and I'm trying to make sure 2 cats are sealed up, 2 kids have shoes and their bags, my laptop is back in the case, my purse is upright (because it started to fall over). The older gentleman looks at me...

Me: Is something wrong? Do you need to see inside one of my bags or something?
Older Gent: No, ma'am. Get everything situated first. It's just a simple security check, but make sure you have everything together first. Your kids can stand over there (motioning behind him).
Me: Fine (trying to hurry as much as possible, because now I'm holding up the line. I get the kids off to the side, bags all intact, shoes on, and look at the older gentleman.) What now?
Older Gent: Please place your hands, palms up, for me.
Me: You're kidding me, right? The guy over there already did this (pointing to the beginning of the security check).
Older Gent: Ma'am, it's random.
Me: Well, maybe you should walkie talkie the guy over there and see if I had any crap on my hands then, because I sure as hell didn't acquire any while going through your security checkpoint circus back there.
Older Gent: Ma'am, I understand. Please just put your hands out.
Me: Fine. (Shooting my hands out. The older gentleman swabs them, and I start to pick up my purse.)
Older Gent: Hold please, ma'am. I need to just run it real quick. (He heads over to a machine, swabs the machine, waits a second and a little piece of paper prints out. He smiles satisfactorily.) You're fine, ma'am, everything came out clear.
Me: Sir, I'm travelling by myself with 2 kids and 2 cats, cross country. I'm trying to get there alive thank you. 
Older Gent: (Laughs) Yes ma'am, I apologize. It's a random check.
Me: Well, maybe you should start stereotyping your random checks a little more. Thanks.

Needless to say, I was one pissed bitch by the time this was all said and done. Yes, I understand about airport security, and it's because of airport security that we haven't had another 9/11 on our hands. And yes, I understand that you can't stereotype when it comes to extra added measures because anyone could be a terrorist. But seriously? I'm a 30 (cough)-ish caucasian woman, (dyed) red hair and blue eyes, travelling with 2 kids, 2 cats and belongings. I'm clearly not going to take down the plane. How heartless would I have to be to not only bring my kids on a suicide terrorist mission but my cats too? Damn, that's some cruel shit right there.

Wait. It was the tattoos, wasn't it? They were judging me because of my tattoos, weren't they? I knew it! Bastards...

I noticed, too, that while they were occupied with swabbing my hands twice, there were some shady-looking people behind me that got right through. Again, I understand in not stereotyping, but it's clear I'm not a terrorist; why not try and find one that might be?

The rest of our airport journey was not smooth sailing after that. We boarded the plane just to have the plane grounded for about 20 minutes. It's funny. Some people on the plane were freaking out, but being an air force wife, I knew we were grounded for lightning in 5 (or, lightning within 5 miles of the runway). Another storm had rolled in, but eventually we got the clear to take off, running about 30 minutes late at this point... which was not a good thing because we only had a 1 hour layover ahead of us.

We got to Dallas (25 minutes late), and they ran down the list of connecting flights' gates. We were pulling into gate D30, and our connecting flight was leaving gate D27. Freaking AWESOME, considering they had already started the boarding process (I had an app on my phone giving me updates). Then some of the most dreaded words ever were uttered by the captain... 'We've had a slight change of plans, folks. We will now be coming into gate C24.' I quickly grabbed the map of the Dallas airport... We were now coming in on the other side of the airport from where we needed to be, and we couldn't even run to get there; we had to take a tram. You have GOT to be kidding me. On top of it all, I had two kids whose internal clocks were telling them it was almost midnight, so what little rushing we could do wasn't going to happen.

We hauled butt and got to our gate with 5 minutes to spare. Out of breath and tired as hell, we started to board, when I took a final look at our tickets and saw that our seats weren't even together. Thank goodness for kind passengers; 2 people switched seats with us, so the kids and I could be together. There are still amazingly kind people left in the world.

At this point, my kids were old pros at this flying thing. As soon as we were given the all clear, they put their trays down, laid their heads down on them, pulled up their blankets and passed out. I have trouble sleeping on planes, so I tried as best I could, which only yielded a huge knot in my left shoulder. (Sigh)

We are here now, and that's all that matters. Seeing Hubby at the end of that long exhausting trip made it all worth while (yes, double hand swabs and everything). My family is back together once again, stronger than ever this time, and that makes me the happiest woman ever.

Even though the airport picked up on my ninja skills and made me go through extra security checks. They are silly; ninjas don't use explosive materials. We make things explode with our minds. Duh.

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  1. OH MY GOSH--what a trip you had. got there and with cats and kids in tact. And one wild story to tell. So glad that is over for you. = )