My mom says that I went on my very first plane ride when I was 2 months old and that she could tell that I would love traveling because I never cried.
I don't know what's happening to me but these days when I travel I feel like not only crying but kicking and screaming too. Though part of the problem is that I have become increasingly intolerant of airplane space (I sometimes find myself feeling claustrophobic and on the verge of a panic attack), I am pretty certain that what's aggravating my situation is everything that flying entails in this day and age.
I often fly to/from MIA which is probably one of the most obnoxious airports anywhere. Growing up, my mom always said that when you were going to travel that you should make it a point to look nice. There was some reasoning behind it that right now escapes me, but as a general concept it makes sense. There is no need to torture those around you by looking hideous in a confined space so I always tried to look nice and put together.
Then 9/11 happened.
Okay so 9/11 was a horrible day in American History. On that day many people died, many more were injured and the whole thing happened with airplanes. Call me insensitive if you will -even though I lost someone on that day too- but I think that more than the deaths, the most terrorizing part of the entire thing was that it started the age of fear and paranoia. Don't get me wrong, I am all for security and safety and keeping weapons off of planes but when security screening becomes a royal pain in the ass I think we've lost.
On September 10 I took an overnight flight from Miami to Hamburg. I remember that day vividly because I was still at the airport when the first tower was hit. I was wearing white pants, a baby blue tank top, a navy blue cardigan and heels of some variety (my memory is not THAT good).
Shortly after the towers were hit, going through security became a nightmare and the danger of using a cardigan as a weapon of mass destruction became a very real possibility so we learned to take it off and put it in the basket and go through the metal detector/air puffing thingy/x-ray machine and then to be okay when you beeped continuously and a stranger fondling you becomes part of the process.
But at least we were not in danger of being exposed to the flesh eating bacteria I am convinced someone will one day get… Then some guy tried to blow up a plane by setting his shoes on fire.
And then shoes became a threat. Even flip-flops. And lighters started to be referred to as "flame throwers" by the fine people of what is now called the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA.
Add more time to the security check because now you have to take of your shoes, dispose of all lighters and that cup of coffee you bought at the Starbucks by the security checkpoint but can't take with you EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE DRINKING IT, because of the "real possibility" that this cup of java goodness is not really coffee but a self transforming fluid that may later become a shotgun. And of course, your perfectly bagged 1 Qt. Ziploc bag needs to be inspected to ensure that any and all fluids are in fact less that 3 ounces and not 3.1oz. Because of course no terrorist would think of traveling with a friend or two and make a pound of fluids out of their respective fluid allowances. And one could have checked the bag with regular sized bottles but who wants to pay the $25 we have to pay now to check a bag just because you want to wear your favorite perfume away from home…
And then there is the issue with the laptop. Gotta take it out of your bag, put it in its own container and then place it in the X ray machine. I think that maybe they are under the impression that the rest of that bottle of shampoo you got the 3 ounces from, is being stored in there.
I hate it. And there is nothing I can do about it except travel in flip flops, leggings and a tank top in the hopes that every curve in my body is symmetrical enough that it will at least save me the embarrassment of having some random person feeling me up. But of course, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.