TSA Scatter-shot

Part of this is my upbringing. Part of it is age and exposure. Part of it, I suppose, is genetic, of some sort. Part is probably because I am Sagittarius, hardwired for travel – and its exigencies.

I’ve been flying, commuting, in some cases, via commercial air, for most of my adult life, and for that matter, a good portion of my childhood.

Flying into Seattle, one time, distant childhood memories echoed back and forth, and I tried to recall what the deal was. My mother, eventually, elucidated. Worlds Fair, the Seattle Space Needle, the Monorail, some of the cousins, I guess, all of them? Not sure on birth years, or time lines.

Apparently, we spent an evening, or a day, or the night in the airport, the airport hotel, or the sitting room, and, this was Seattle, right? It was cold and wet.

I’ve circled the globe at least twice on commercial jets. Being raised in Texas and growing up in the American Southwest, I’m used to vast expanses. I pretty much commute to El Paso, three, five times a year now. Have been for a dozen years or more. Different time zone, same state. Not really a comfortable trip in a car. Only an hour by air.

I’ve lamented this, in both my horoscopes and here, in the web journal, about the days of yore, when I could board an aircraft with a Bowie Knife larger than a Roman Broadsword. Or the time I was late and almost missed the early morning flight, only to have no time to check my bag, as I flew through post-911 security with large, folding knife. Didn’t discover it until I got home. My bad. And I’ll never do that again, not me.

Carriage contract, portage contract, whatever that’s called?

Read the damn fine print, it’s in there. That ticket purchase included the right to search your ass. TSA can give you colonoscopy if they want.

I’m for it.

My colleagues – and I – once carried “magic wands.” I can’t make this crap up. Early in my exploration of the hoary arts, just short of being haruspex, but not by much, we used a tool that was basically a length of copper tubing, filled with various crystals, and magic dust, topped at one end by a big, honking chunk of quartz. Quit trying to fly with those after a funny explanation, it was wrapped in pink leather and dressed with a feather, but still, never mind. It was vastly amusing, and it helped that we were headed “To Austin.”

That was always a good excuse.

See, fly enough, spend enough time in departure lounges, on the road, going hither and yon? I understand, for my safety, if something is even a little off-kilter, besides my mind, I want it searched, disarmed, and rendered safe.

In travel, airplane gate-to-gate is the safest part of the journey. One reason is because they search us.

As a much younger man, I used to pride myself on contraband on commercial air. These days? I won’t even take fluid of any kind. I might buy coffee after I’ve passed the security barrier, but even then, it’s airport prices, and I’m sometimes too cheap for that.

My little Capricorn friend reminded of the times we would go to the Austin Airport, this is a pretty narrow window, historically, and she would call it a date. Salt Lick BBQ, then Amy’s Ice Cream. Sometimes, a band would be playing in the lounge area…. Did have to get searched, but no ID or ticket was required.

Not a lot different from voting.

Carry something to read. I usually have a toothbrush, maybe an electronic device or two, like a phone and laptop, but I save most of rest of the stuff for a suitcase.

For years, I was greeted at the check-in, at the El Paso curb, as “Michael Bolton!”

Funny. Ha-ha. When I’d get back to Austin, there would always be a note from the TSA that suitcase had been searched. Fine by me.

One time, same airport, as I was getting to the security section, a pretty security officer remembered me from doing readings the day before. I wonder if that was why I was singled out?

Maybe I’ve been on too many planes shuttling from Austin to Dallas to Albuquerque to Phoenix to Vegas to SF to Seattle. Portland was cool. Maybe one too many. However, any notion that they might grope a customer? That’s the price of flying.

I can’t recall the exact moment I stepped through the first X-Ray total scan thing. Was recently. All I knew was they told me to turn sideways and hold my hands above my head.

Grope away.

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