se·cu·ri·ty. n. 1. Freedom from danger.
The word security can conjure images of a security blanket, a secure environment. For me, it used to cause more of a blanching at the thought of dumping my valued possessions into a dirty gray plastic tray, removing my shoes, sweater, and belt in a public place, and exposing myself to untold x-rays. Rather than railing against the invasion and indignity of it all, I choose to relax into the pain of travel.
This new attitude began on a trip to Denver at 6 AM one holiday morning when bleary travelers were queued up beyond imagination at Newark Airport. A confused-looking woman approached and asked me if this was the line for the Ladies’ Room. I doubled with laughter at her clever joke. The more sensitive man behind me, realizing she was in earnest, told her it was the security line. “Very funny,” she snapped. Maybe the security line was what you made of it?
Sure enough, next trip to Europe a kindly fellow asked me out on a date. It didn’t last (Charlie Brown’s for a vegetarian? Really?), but it was interesting. I learned that the quicker I jumped into formation, the better things went. When the security agent at Chicago O’Hare asked if I could take my suit jacket off I told him I’d strip if it got me through faster. He solemnly reminded me that it was a family airport. The touch of the female security agents in Buenos Aires and Mumbai were deft, respectful, and, well, not that unpleasant. Much better than a German wanding, but we won’t go there. By time the cheerful blonde in Vancouver offered me a body scan or a pat down I felt like I was choosing between the box and the curtain.
Things go easier for me now that I look at airport security like the weather: interesting to know about, always changing and yet the same, not much I can do about it. The security agent checking my ID wished me Happy Birthday last year. Even the guy in the red coat whose job it appears to be to shout at and ridicule passengers in the line has some endearing qualities…Say “hi” to my new BFFs at TSA next time you’re flying!
To save the hassle, pack your belt in your carry on and put it on after security, clean out your pockets, and wear slip-on shoes. Ladies, think twice about an underwire bra (but maybe don’t pack it for later donning.)