Strugglefest

Well, I was the jerk who tried to bring a Leatherman’s through airport security this morning.

Yep, not my shining moment. Luckily, the TSA lady said she understood that I had just forgotten it was in there. I mean, she didn’t let me keep it, but we did have a conversation about the book currently sitting in my bag (Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, by the way. So far, I highly recommend it). I’m pretty bummed about the loss of my feeble form of protection/get-shit-done tool. Not that I would ever have my wits about me enough to search through my bag, find my Leatherman’s and pull out the knife, should I ever need to in a hurry. But whatever. Dad is going to need to get me a new one for my stocking this Christmas.

Airport security is such a strugglefest. I’ve gotten pretty good at getting through security stress free (well, except for the knife incident this morning. And losing my phone last time…maybe I need to reevaluate by skills). Anyways, by thinking that I’ve gotten good at dealing with TSA, I spend my time in line silently evaluating how people could improve their trip through security and speed up the process for everyone. It’s not so much judgment as it is my OCD shining through and trying to solve the world’s problems.

For starters, can we all just remember to wear slip on shoes? It is not breaking news that we all have to take off our shoes to make sure we don’t have explosive devices hidden in our Sperrys Lets just slip them off, put our hands above our heads like we’re about to be patted down at a crime scene and then slip the shoes back on. No trying to tie your laces while holding your laptop in one hand and pulling your overstuffed carry-on off the belt at the same time.

Apparently TSA has decided that if you are 75 years old, you don’t have to remove your shoes or coat. Personally, this is now a new milestone to look forward to. 21= Legal Drinking (Check!). 25= Rental Cars. 65= Senior Discounts Galore. 75= Keep shoes and coats on at the airport. I’m also happy to know that if TSA insists on giving my 84 year-old Grandma a full pat down again, just because she has a pacemaker, she can at least keep her shoes and coat on.

And don’t even get me started on liquids. We all forget that we have them in our makeup case or that we have a huge tube of expensive tanning lotion in our backpack (shout out to Miss Leslie Friend!) and watch heartbroken as it is confiscated, and the TSA agents get a gleam in their eye, confirming our suspicions that your beauty products are not being thrown away. For your own sake people, just put it all in your quart size baggie or check a bag. As someone who checked a bag this morning for the first time in years, the extra $40 to $50 is worth not having to wrestle your bag through security and into an overhead compartment, plus you don’t have to pay to replace all the liquids you apparently own. I just had my laptop bag today, and it was marvelous how light and airy I felt for the first time in an airport. I didn’t even have a backpack this time!

Today, we’re hoping I can break the apparent “National ACT Travel Curse” that has been cast on me. Lets recap my past struggles when traveling for ACT events:

-AMS 2011, New Orleans: 3 hour layover in Denver from New Orleans to Santa Barbara increased by another 3 hours. Imagine a group of college students, stuck in an airport for 6 hours after a week in New Orleans. It wasn’t pretty.

-National Officer Training, October 2011, University of Arkansas: I cried in an airport. I’m still somewhat traumatized by the whole experience. I really don’t want to talk about it.

-Professional Development Conference, February 2012, Lubbock: Again, don’t really want to talk about it. But if you missed this highly entertaining tale (at least I can admit it to myself now), you can read about it here.

Let’s hope AMS 2012 in the ‘Querque is much more relaxed!

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