the ‘pat down’


“I’m wearing my flip-flops because I’ll be able to get my shoes off easily,” I told Dave the morning of my trip.  I was so excited to be getting away with just Dave after the state testing season here in Illinois.  From an early age, I’ve loved to travel, mostly road trips camping out west … with the family.  But for this spring break we decided to fly to San Diego and try to see some whales.  I’m not a big airport girl…after 9-11 the heightened security makes me feel like I have something to hide.  The kiosk check in makes me nervous, because I think it isn’t going to work… and getting to the airport early…way early, is just the way I roll.  I don’t love to run to terminals and I’m absolutely baffled if they for some reason have to cancel, delay a flight or move a gate.  I know for the ‘seasoned’ traveler this is no big deal, but it is for me.

This is what happened first…the kiosk told Dave that our flight was full.  So we had to wait in this unruly long line at 5:00 in the morning wondering what was wrong with our tickets…but got through it with no explanation given.   I started to feel edgy because I like sitting at the gate for a full 2 hours.  So we were behind according to my timetable.  Then we stood in another line so they could check the boarding passes and our ID.  I smiled at her so she would be nice to me, and she was! I started to relax too soon because next we moved to the conveyor belt.  I put my computer in the box with my flip-flops and then up went my back pack and my carry on.

Oh, no, I could sense it…trouble was lurking near the metal detector.  There was a very gruff and bossy woman at the metal detector.  I was nervous, but I had nothing to fear because I had remembered everything.  I confidently walked through.  It started beeping.

She looked at me and asked if I had a metal knee.

“I don’t have a metal knee…no metal parts…not yet.”  I went through again.

It beeped again… she sighed and bellowed….”you have jewelry on.”

Yikes, I forgot that, I took my cuffs and necklace  off and put the jewelry in another box by the conveyor.  I looked over… Dave was long done.  He was giving me the evil eye because I seem to be holding up the line.

I walked through again…the machine was blasting and that big girl was getting mad as a hornet.  She said, “are you wearing a belt? ”  Oops….I was….Dave was glaring at me, I  took the belt off handed it to him  and he put it on in another box on the conveyor.

I walked through again…..stinkin’ beeping machine!!  The lady now says….what are you wearing???? People are laughing, I am sweating.  She finally bellows…”it’s your bra….you must be wearin’ a thick underwire from Macy’s.”

I said, “Well yes I do….doesn’t everyone?”

She gets in my face yells in the walkie for personal assistance for a” complete pat down”.  I have no idea what that means.  I’m thinking that she will bring me in a room and make me take off my bra and then start to pat.  I’m suddenly in my biggest, wake me out of a deep sleep nightmare situation… In my mind, I’m trying to run to catch my flight without my bra on….this is my biggest fear and it’s really happening on the first day of my spring break!

The new lady  tells me how she is gonna pat.  She sees my terror.  She speaks in a calm and reassuring way.  I say,

“I just don’t want you to make me take off my bra.”

She looks at me with a smile and says..”.no way”. and starts to pat.

Finally it is over, now I just have an hour to spare. Dave is standing at Starbucks with all my stuff.  My backpack is unzipped.  Suddenly, I’m really in the mood to ‘slice’ this ordeal.  I look for my computer before I zip up.

“Oh my gosh, my computer…it’s back where I had the pat down.” I run back to conveyor.  Thank goodness it’s still there.  I have my computer and my bra is still on.  I’m ready to ‘slice’.

PS Today I board a plane in San Diego back home.  Please pray that I’ll get away ‘pat’ free.


About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

7 responses »

  1. This soooo sounds like me traveling- except I don’t have a Macy’s underwire bra (thank heavens)! But I definitely have been known to leave my computer at security. Thanks for a good laugh.

  2. Before 9-11 I had a job where I was on a plane at least twice a week, going to different parts of the country, working with teachers in schools as they learned how to implement technology. I became a “seasoned traveler” in the year I spent in this role. I returned to the classroom when my daughter entered kindergarten. I now feel like you do when I travel. There is more security, e-tickets and longer lines. I’ve learned not to wear certain bras, belts or jewelry as it always seems to set off the hyper-sensitive scanners. I hope your return flight is easier. Have a safe trip!

  3. I would not want to go through what you did, but I liked that you could tell it in a humorous tone. Hope you arrive home safely and rested…and wearing your bra!

  4. My husband wears hearing aides and he’s often treated like he’s wearing bombs in his ears. Add in not hearing well with impatient security and it gets comical.

  5. And another thing we have in common, I like getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare too. Your tale through security is too funny! Fortunately, I have not had issues with the security people (now I’ve probably jinxed it). Hope you make it home without incident.

  6. Ahhhh, what a pain traveling and getting through security at airports can be. We had a bit of an ordeal getting through the airport here in Paris today…just happy to be back home now! I hope you get back home safely and quickly. 🙂

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