Okay, so I wasn’t strip searched. But I did have to throw away two brand new, never before opened, $10.00 bottles of shampoo and conditioner. And I was looked at with thinly veiled contempt and impatience. Strip searched/slightly inconvenienced, whatevs. These people don’t understand how hard it was for me not to yell something totally stupid like, “Smile, it’s only national security!” while standing in line. The zingers just kept coming!

I love to fly. I love the exhilaration of taking off and landing, I love watching the patchwork of civilization tilt and bob as we ascend, I love lifting through the clouds to a whole new landscape of ethereal seas, mountains and valleys. I even love giving my drink order to the (slightly older than I expected) stewardess air hostess flight attendant and getting my two swallows of Dr Pepper and complimentary peanuts in-flight. It’s all just so freeing.

I could do without, however, all that comes before and after modern flight these days. I reported an hour early as instructed, only to spend the first 20 minutes of my earliness looking for cheap parking and hiking to the terminal. I then checked in at the Departures desk, Gate 12 and then the Gate 12 desk only to discover that I’d been holding my boarding pass in my hand the whole time. And between the Departures desk and Gate 12 I found the cheerful folks of TSA. Thank God I haven’t lost any weight since my last driver’s license photo- I hate to imagine what they’d have done to Jack who was sporting a beard and 200 extra pounds the last time Texas took his official snapshot.

Y’all have to understand that I haven’t flown in a while. I think it was 1998 or something. Not wanting to look like a nitwit, I was very careful to hang back and observe my fellow passengers for the correct procedures and attitudes before venturing into lines myself. (Typing this I now see why TSA might’ve had their collective eye on me.) I wore flip flops and no jewelry. My purse was large and easily searchable. My carry-on was small and easily managed. I had my flight information and picture ID within reach at all times and smiled in a friendly, don’t-single-out-the-novice manner as often as possible.

They singled out the novice.

After throwing out my shampoo and conditioner (but not my astringent or hand sanitizer, so if we were crashed on a desert island a la Lost as Lizzie feared, I would have either medical supplies or drinks depending on the need,) I was directed to put my bare feet on the giant yellow cartoon feet in the twist-and-scan, reach for sky and BE STILL. Fun. Seems the (clear) plastic hanger string on my blouse needed to be tucked in. On the way home the roll of fat spilling over the right side of my jeans was causing the problems. You’ll be relieved to know that the roll of fat on the left side behave admirably.

Now don’t think I’ll let all this keep me from flying. As long as Mama’s got Southwest miles, I’ll go anywhere she wants me. But for my money, I’ll fly the little executive plane out of our local airport: 10 minutes from home, 15 minute early check-in time, no security check and everybody gets a window seat. It’s only $99 to Dallas and once you get in the airport you can go anywhere!

Mercy; I hope no terrorists are reading this!


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