Sunday, October 25, 2009

Airport Security Variations

At the Philadelphia Airport, I was careful. I put everything, including my passport pouch, shoes, and cane into the scanner. I got flagged as a BIP. They refused to tell me what a BIP is. They pronounced it bip. I expect it means Body Incarcerated for Patting. I got put into a corral. My guard said it was because my sweater was loose. I told the guard I had a t-shirt on under the sweater, and I was willing to remove the sweater. He looked shocked. "Once you are in the corral you stay in the corral, until you've been patted down." He requested a female patter. I told the man I was ordered to strip down to my bra in public at LAX. I wore a sweatshirt to the airport. The man running the scanner asked me to take off the sweatshirt. I told him all I had on underneath was my bra. He insisted I remove my sweat shirt anyway. I really wished I hadn't been wearing my bra. He could have been embarrassed, too.

When I finally got patted and released from the corral, I discovered that somebody at the scanner station had tried to disassemble my cane. It's a collapsible cane. I don't need it for walking. I need it for my ouchercises. I hold one end with my left hand and then push my arm into stretched positions using my right hand on the other end. Fortunately, I'm mechanical and I was able to get the cane back together.

At the other end, returning from York, UK, they were sweet to me. They didn't even make me take off my shoes. I wore the same sweater. Nobody wanted to pat me, or corral me. Three people asked me, "Where is your luggage?" I explained to curious bystanders as well as Travel Safety Personnel, "I pack lightly, and do wash." One man was particularly curious how I could go one week on only one pair of shoes. Everybody was friendly. One woman asked me if I had anything that might look like a weapon. I held out my cane. "You could do real damage with that," she said. "I can do damage with my socks, if I want to," I replied. She laughed and did not take away my cane. But someone must have been curious about the volume labels on the liquids in my zip-lock baggie. I didn't check the seal on the baggie -- just popped it back into my backpack. When I got home, I had slime inside my backpack from goo that leaked out of my hand lotion and mouth wash containers. England is the country that convicted so-called liquid bombers even after their chemists testified that there is nothing you could make during the length of a cross-Atlantic flight that would do any damage.

Glad to be home. Time to do laundry. This time in a washing machine instead of a sink.

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