Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wobble Pillow Freaks Out TSA

I seem to have a knack for upsetting the TSA.
About a year ago when going through the Los Angeles Airport screening, the weather was cool, so I wore a loose sweatshirt instead of a t-shirt. Note: I do not always wear a bra. The TSA examiner ordered me to take off my sweatshirt. I asked for a private room and he refused. At that point I wished I had not worn a bra that day. I wished I had drawn anti-Bush slogans on my back and breasts with marking pen. And I wished that I lived in a sane country again. But I took off my sweatshirt in public (something I dearly wanted to do when I was going through hot spells) and put the sweatshirt through the scanner as ordered by the TSA while others in line gawked at me.
This time my offense was packing my wobble pillow in my carry-on. The wobble pillow is really a stability disk like you've probably seen at the gym or in sporting goods stores. I sit on it because it makes my arthritic hips comfortable. I sit on it at home at my desk and on my seat on airplanes and buses. I took it with me to jury duty. At jury duty, the x-ray machine operator asked what it was and why I had it with me. When I explained she wanted to know where to get one. She has a ripped tendon in her hip and she has to sit all day.
At the airport, my carry on and I were summarily ushered into a side room where I had to sit in a chair while a blue-gloved woman removed every item from my carefully packed carry-on. I explained what it was. She said, "It looks worse than what it is." Huh? What does an inflated pillow look like to a TSA scanner? She took out my neti pot, which I use to wash dust and pollen out of my nose. At this point I was not feeling cooperative, so I said, "That's a neti pot." She didn't ask what it was for. In retrospect, it might have been fun to give her the gory details of how it works so she'd know she was handling a snot washer. She took out my clothing and small exercise balls. She looked at my baggie of hand lotion, tooth paste and anti-itch goo. Finally, she offered to repack my bag. I refused her generous offer.
I wish I lived in a sane country on a sane planet where my government was not afraid of inflated pillows, stainless steel pots, and tubes of toothpaste.

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