And as soon as those two words in bold black letters on a bright orange background showed up on the screen, the TSA agent at SeaTac said, “Afraid you are going to have to come with me, ma’am.”
And thus began our 2012 travels . . .
We were on our way to Las Vegas yesterday, our annual trip to watch college football games on big screen televisions in Sports Books found in nearly every casino in town when it all began. I wrote about our similar trip last year and had planned not to even mention this trip That was until Lady Luck – or Lady Un-luck – struck before I’d even left Seattle.
“Why is it always you?” I heard Joel ask from behind me.
I’ve thought about that since yesterday and here’s my answer: it is because I am generally a happy traveler (I smiled at the guy) and short (5-feet tall) and blonde (although chemically-induced blonde, I could have the traits of a real blonde) and I am over 50; all of which I think adds up to: I am an easy mark.
Back to my tale . . .
We were in the line snaking its way to the TSA bag, body and document screening when I smiled at the agent, he smiled back and said, “Ma’am I need you to step over here – I am doing a random swab of hands.” He swiped, put the cotton pads in the machine and I joked (yes, up until yesterday, I still chatted with these folks) about detecting the type of hand lotion I used.
EXPLOSIVES DETECTED flashed on the screen and that was the end of that conversation. . .
On the bright side, he led us right to the front of the line (hopefully people thought we were celebrities or something) and helped put all of our stuff through the screening. After we both cleared the body x-ray (now standard screening at SeaTac) Joel went off to wait for me while I was led to more screening.
Everything I had, plastic baggie, coat, shoes, purse and contents were individually wiped down and tested. They all passed with flying colors. . .No explosives!
Then two female TSA agents arrived and took me into a room and closed the door for my ‘pat down’. Now I can’t say I was real happy at that point, BUT I do need to say the exam was explained to me in advance: and done in an extremely professional manner.
(“I will be using a backhand pat down everywhere but the inner thigh and there I will need to used the front of my hands to pat down,” she said.)
They checked my hair (“I am trying not to mess it up,” she explained) and then did the pat down.
The second woman took the gloves she had been wearing and tested them for residue.
Again, I passed with flying colors. . .I was free to go. And on the bright side, we didn’t have to wait long at all to board our flight.
As I left I told them I was a white-knuckle flier and I really did appreciate the security efforts. (They told me most people react much differently.)
The afterward of this tale is that we are in Las Vegas, the sun is out, we are barefoot in our sandals, the two teams we wanted to win games did so yesterday we were upgraded to a room with sweeping views over the valley and mountains and all is again well in our travel world.
However, we might just allow ourselves a little extra time at the airport prior to our return flight - just in case Lady Luck strikes again!