Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Frisk Me, Please! - Michelle Cottle has no problem with new security procedures, and I can't say I've found much to complain about, either. I've taken three round-trip trips since September 11th, which translates to 6 times through security. I've gone through security in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Detroit, so I feel like I've seen a pretty good sampling of how security is handled in airports ranging from small towns like mine to airports like Dallas that are, in all likelihood, bigger than the town I lived in while I was in college. And you know what? It ain't that bad.

I've gotten pulled out of line just about everytime I go through security because I've got change in my pockets, or a metal belt buckle, grommets in my boots, sunspots, or whatever. They make me undo my belt and take off my shoes. I have to stand on a silly little mat with footprints on it and stick my arms out. And I take it. I do as I'm told. Why? Is it because I'm a typical modern man, cowed out of all individuality or spirit by the bleak, Kafkaesque maze that is my life? No. Is it because I'm terrified of violence and would gladly give up my freedom for a sense of security, even if it's false? Nope. Actually, there are a couple of reasons:
  1. It's no big deal. The inconvenience of security checks are no greater than those involved in Christmas shopping or attending a major concert, and in exchange I get to travel hundreds of miles in just a few hours, usually while I sleep or read. Until somebody invents teleportation or self-navigating flying cars, it's the best alternative for anything more than a few hundred miles.
  2. The security guard is not a faceless drone or a cog in The System. He (or she) is somebody with an important but shitty job. He's gotta check me out, and I've gotta get checked out. That's the way it's got to be, but I do have one choice: I can make it easy, or I can make it hard. Me, I'm going to choose to make it easy. If you want to make it hard, that's fine with me, but why bitch about it afterwards?
  3. Travel is frustrating. Getting pissed off and irritable would be the easy thing to do. It's more interesting to me if I take it all as a lesson in applied spirituality.
  4. It's faster.

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