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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Airports, travel and Mama Bean

I am very fortunate that over the past year and a half I've had the opportunity to go "on the road" a bit. 

I've always been a wanderlust by nature.  Although I never flew in a plane until I was 18, by the time I was 24 I had visited 5 continents and had a fairly full passport.  Currently, I'm on a quest to see all 50 states.

Once I got married, had kids, my traveling days had been limited.  Then I was offered the opportunity to train some colleagues, only about 2 days a month, and I thought it would be fun. 

It has been.

Airports are one of my favorite places to people watch.  The fact that I live in Las Vegas, LAS is a great people watching place.  People from all over the world in their drunken, materialistic glory flock here.  One time, before a family vacation, we were waiting with a group of very hungover college students- sunglasses on inside, slightly moaning- and I very humourosly detailed to my son the travails of excessive drinking with their full moans of approval.

This trip, a quickie to LA, had me thinking while I waited to go through security, that it is also a great opportunity to see who people really are.  Specifically, at security.

Here's my take on airport security:

It's not that big a deal.

No joke.

I am quite happy to save my liquids for the other side of the screening, take off my shoes, take out my liquids in my little zippy bag, remove my lap top from the bag, and take off my belt.  If this means the plane will not explode into a million burning pieces, I'm good with it.

It takes about 10-20 minutes out of my life to accomplish this.

For this slight inconvenience, I get to fly, in the air and not blow up.

Sounds fair.

But to some people you would think this was a HUGE violation of their very busy lives.  If you look at the line, the business folks, the people who travel the most, aren't bitching.  In fact while the tourists are moaning and complaining, the business folks have slipped off their slip on shoes, removed their belts and already taken off their shoes.  Our liquids are in the quart sized bag which we place on the top of our carry on.  Our lap tops are easily accessible and quickly removed.

Yes, water is a liquid.  I know you paid $3 for it.  You are a moron.  Dump it and refill the stupid thing on the other side of security.  It's free at the water fountains.  It hasn't cost you a penny more.

Yes, even YOU have to remove your shoes.  Did you think I was going to a Japanese restaurant and that's why I removed mine?

Yes, your belt buckle is metal.  As is the change in your wallet that you have left in your back pocket.

There are GIANT SIGNS that explain this complicated process to you.  We even have humorous videos at LAS because we know many of the people who visit aren't regular flyers. 

This isn't communism.  This isn't a grave violation of your civil rights.  It's security because 10 years ago some really bad people killed a lot of people when the security guards waved them through, despite having set off the detectors.  This "horrible" process has prevented more people from doing the same.

And while I don't understand why my parents would ever need a pat down, if it lets everyone sleep a little better in a safer world, you can have my 20 minutes.  Pat away.

This is where I see my parallel to life- some people are so self involved they can't appreciate the benefit to a greater good.  They are so concerned about their own drama, that they make the 10 minutes feel like an hour.  They complain and bitch as if this is an ongoing problem in their lives.

You know what I consider a problem?  Terrorists taking over a plane.

If going through security so you can travel is your biggest gripe, then God Bless America.  These are the same people that throw shit fits at Starbucks when their latte is served hot and not iced because they never told the barista.  The same people who yell at the cashier when something rings up incorrectly.  The same people who get off making other people feel bad about themselves because they are clearly not happy.  Do they even know that's why they are doing it?  They are too embarassed to admit they made a mistake, don't understand, are confused, so they take it out on everyone else.

Dial it down people.

You are not more important than me or the rest of the people in line.  We are all doing the exact same thing. 

Now shut the hell up, take off your shoes and MOVE.

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