Saturday, July 15, 2006

Feeling Safer by the Day

Last Friday I flew down to Los Angeles for the wedding of my dear friends Kelsi and Jeff. The wedding took place at Aunt Suzie's House. Really, that's what it said on the invitation, which was so cute and fitting for the kind of intimate, backyard engagement it turned out to be. Kelsi's talented, musical family served as the reception entertainment. Jeff's sister Jeannine was the photographer. Kelsi's mother's best friend Claudia (a kind of second mother to her) was the officiant. It was lovely.

That was how I felt after the wedding...just full of all the lovely of it. Before the wedding was a little stressful, only in the way that any kind of travel can be when there's a schedule to be kept. Sajid and I had some trouble finalizing our plans for making it down to L.A., partly having to do with the fact that I was to be there for a 5:00 rehearsal on Friday evening, and he couldn't leave until Friday night. So I ended up booking a flight at the last minute, and he drove.

I always stress out a little when it comes to the airport. I hate to rush, and I really hate to bring luggage onboard, which I did this time because I only had one small suitcase. It turned out the plane was too small to handle even this carry on, its overhead compartments measuring roughly the size of a toaster oven, and I ended up having to check the small suitcase at the end of the staircase (yes, incredibly we still use staircases up to the planes in San Jose) anyway.

Without the luggage I might have avoided having to endure the bonus screening I was treated to when I passed through security. I don't know how the security people decide who makes the first cut and who doesn't. Maybe it truly is just random. But whatever they use to determine who gets the extra dose of security screening, I must have had it written all over me that day. The second I passed through the little imaginary doorway (without beeping, I may add), and without even glancing once at my face, the man holding my boarding pass snapped his fingers and said, "female screener needed."

Ambling along came not one, but two(!) female security screeners, who told me to follow them to a huge x-ray machine at the end of the screening area. They had a somewhat lengthy discussion about whether or not they should offer me a chair, they giggled incessantly at some kind of secret funny thing, and they got in each others' way a lot as they rifled through my luggage. At some point I clued in to the fact that one of the young women was training the other, though I honestly would have had a difficult time telling who knew better what she was doing if I'd been asked at any point before the clue in.

With my luggage determined non-threatening (whew), it was time for my pat down! The trainer turned to the trainee and said, "Okay, search her now." I might point out here that I was wearing a long straight skirt with no pockets and a simple summer blouse, neither of which could have possibly been disguising something dangerous. But they had their jobs to do, I understand.

With this new set of instructions, the trainee looked at the trainer with a face that seemed to say she wasn't sure how to go about this next step. The trainer nodded at the trainee reassuringly, and the trainee looked me up and down, trying to decide where/how to start. She ended up squatting down in front of me, and the trainer told her to have me take one half step forward on one leg. I did so, and then the trainee began patting me down.

With this, the trainer leaned down next to the trainee's ear and--in a mocking accusatory tone-- said, "slut."

I guess it was meant to be a whisper. The two ladies shared another giggle, and they dismissed me shortly thereafter. I walked toward the gate thankful for the new stringent security measures and the sober, security-minded folks we've hired to enforce them at our airports.

1 comment:

Jesse E. said...

I think "full of all the lovely of it" qualifies as one of the greatest lines of all time.