Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The "Pat Down"

Some folks travel with their pets. My pets are my jewelry tools & baggies full of "projects" to keep my hands busy. Passing through security on planes & cruise ships has become relatively easy for me, after learning a few expensive TSA lessons involving my favorite hammers. Yes, it's become easy & routine ... until recently. Perhaps more airports are using the x-ray machines? But in the 2 trips I've taken in 2012, I've faced the x-ray machine 3 times. Based on physicist's warnings about this x-ray exposure to the skin, I had decided to opt out of the x-ray, if the need arose. So I did. I didn't foresee my reaction to the alternate pat-down, however.

After waiting for the "female pat-down" announcement to produce a female agent, a very stern, uniformed, female agent proceeded to explain exactly what she would do. When she completed her speech & started the pat-down, I burst into tears. Why?! That was as much a totally embarrassing mystery to me as to her! I'm a mature, married woman, have been examined inside & out by doctors of both sexes, & had a baby! I mean, what's left to examine that hasn't been examined? She stopped with a stunned look on her face, as my shoulders shook with awful crying. I couldn't help but wonder if they would confiscate all my expensive jewelry tools, just on general principles. Surely I must be a threat in some way? But fortunately, I survived this dreaded process, with much less dignity, but with tools in tact. Hopefully it would never happen again.


I've just returned from my 2nd trip & my 2nd pat-down. This time a young, sweet woman responded to the loud "female pat-down" summons. Again as she began her pat-down, I started this embarrassing crying. Why!!!??? Surprised, she stopped & said sympathetically, "Oh no! Don't cry! I'm nice." (Again, I could have crawled under the floor with embarrassment at the uncontrollable faucet in my eyes!) "What's the matter?" she asked. She sincerely wanted to know. With sudden clarity, I admitted that his process makes me feel... guilty. YES, guilty! Why? I mean, my daughter (with a loving smirk) calls me Honor Bright. I really try to be a decent person. I've never seen a bomb in my life. Then another light bulb of clarity: "I'm guilty because I'm Catholic!" Original sin & all that training about guilt in Catholic grammar school of the 1950's. Mystery solved. The TSA agent had never heard that excuse before. We both had a good laugh, as she completed the pat-down. When she was done, I hid in the corner & blew air into my red eyes, before facing my fellow passengers. I'm hoping I've had my last pat-down. But what are the odds... ? Plus I've still got original sin. UGH.

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