Friday afternoon I sat across from my punk ass colleague dear friend who had been with me on my prior…um… encounter with HOMELAND SECURITY. He decided it was necessary to regale everyone else who happened to be sitting in the company conference corraller with my story. (But who am I to judge – I AM posting these delightful anecdotes for the world to see.)
“Don’t forget socks,” he concluded smugly.
And with just such arm-twisting, I was off to shed my person of corporate shirt, pencil skirt and my signature 4-inch heels. I returned in disguise, dragging my suitcase behind me. Clad in sneakers, jeans and a baseball hoodie, I walked right past people used to interacting with me daily, none of whom gave me a second glance. (I am not making this up. I may be on to something here.)
A group of us had discussed taking a large van to the airport for our company charter flight home. I kid of course, the company didn’t actually charter us a plane – this particular commercial flight just happened to be completely full of employees recognizing the immense benefits of a direct cross-country fight. (Even if I am pretty sure that many corporate peeps on a single plane is against policy in case things end poorly and half the company goes down in a fiery ball of jet fuel. But I digress…)
There were six of us that arrived in the van together. All of them had now received detailed debriefings on the prior conference pat-down scandal, and I had become the primary butt of all jokes.
Suddenly one of our group, Tom, realized he did not have a boarding pass. He sent us on ahead as the remaining four guys pointed at me, reminding him, “Don’t worry. You’ll catch up. Hell, you’ll probably beat her through security!”
“What lane is she going in? Cuz I’m getting in the other one,” announced one of my newfound posse peeps.
“Yeah, make her stand back and go at the *end*,” another reminded the group. I stood back at the instructed end and sulked.
(Funny little bastards, aren’t they.)
The boarding pass/ID checker was going back and forth between sides, verifying travelers’ eligibility to enter Mordor the terminals. I however (in my alone-in-my-head sulking time), had become keenly aware of the seemingly endless group of elementary-age children waiting to snake through the security line next to me.
“Are you with him?” droned the bored ID checker as he waved the last of my colleagues through.
“Yes. Yes I am,” I replied without missing a beat.
My colleague gave me the evil eye and noted, “Ok, fine. You can stick with me. But I get to go through first.” I glared.
We reached the checkpoint. I stripped appropriately. I had no belt, no outerwear, no shoes (but absolutely with the protective socks). My computer was out of its bag in in a sole lonely bin. I sailed through the metal detector. Woot!
I smugly strutted over to collect my belongings.
“Ma’am? Is this your bag?”
The TSA security agent began riffling through my bag looking for illegal contraband. (While I bemoaned the woeful occurrence of him touching my stuff.)
The four colleagues ahead of me had grouped together and were now doubled over with laughter.
“Sorry,” I muttered to the agent. “This happens every time. And they just think it’s absofuckingtabulous.”*
“You’re traveling with all those guys?!” my agent exclaimed. (I retorted that I merely worked with those jokers.)
“Oh tell me you’re their boss,” he implored. (Nope.)
At this point Tom cleared security, gathered his belongings and joined my adoring fans. The gang was now howling in hysterics. (Real funny, dudes.)
“What did she do THIS time,” I overheard of them gasp through their wheezing laughter.
“Every. Damn. Time.” I grumbled.
My security agent had apparently taken a liking to me. (Possibly because he was partly bemused by the unfolding workplace drama. But more likely because it was Friday, just about the end of his shift, and there was nothing nefarious in my belongings. You know – all the ones he’d just spread cooties all over.)
“Oh absolutely not,” my agent rebuffed me as I reached for my bag. “I’m taking this bag over there for you.”
I shrugged, smiled and bent down to replace my shoes.
When I looked up, all five men were standing straight. They weren’t laughing. I reached them just as my agent burst into peals of laughter.
“I had to say SOMETHING,” he informed me. “So I came over here and told them we were going to now need to check ALL the bags and each person in your party was going to need to submit to a personal search.”
“How much did she pay you to say that?” scowled another colleague.
Not nearly enough, kind sir. Not nearly enough.
I attempted to remain grumpy, but really – even I had to admit this one was a bit funny. Mostly because even though my stuff got pawed, no one in security now owes me dinner.