Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The TSA Feel Up, Rise and Repeat

I am headed to Texas tomorrow and I have had A LOT of things to do, but instead I have been hanging around most of the day reading other people's blogs and now...well, you know.  I woke up at 2:30 AM, having anxiety about the things I need to accomplish before I go, like a few client projects, my taxes, losing 10 lbs and getting a tan. Well, at least I will get the client projects completed. Later.

If you are just checking in, you can learn more about my upcoming Texas adventure here. The weather is supposed to be in the 80's, so I am stoked (dude.) since we have had not much besides wind, rain and snow here in the Rockies.

What I am NOT looking forward to is the feel up from the TSA. I have been through many a small airport and I am apparently the one who looks most like a terrorist. It's the Blackberry, really shitty bag and the People Magazines. Everyone knows that Taliban rebels shop at Target and MUST stay apprised of what the Kardashians are up to....

I travel light...and I look great in olive drab!
Image Credit
One of my best TSA trips was in a tiny town on the Montana/Canada border. It was 5:30 am, and there was snow up to my armpits in the hotel parking lot. After digging out my rental car with a Starbucks lid, I crawled out to the airport to get out of the god-forsaken town I was working in that week. 

I had bought among way too many other things, a set of really nice knives for Special Agent (this town had remarkable shopping for such a tiny place) which I had stuffed into my suitcase. I was a little worried at how the weaponry (for steak and veggies) would be received and what kind of internal probing I would have to tolerate at that hour to get them home. 

The TSA agent gave me the eyeball, but just said if I checked my bag instead of gate checking,  I was A-ok. I considered telling her there was no chance in hell of touching my gate checked bag, over my check-checked bag, so what was the difference?, but I hadn't had enough caffeine for such chatter so I watched her try to zip my bag back up with amusement instead. I had really shopped this time. ((evil grin....))

A man came whooshing in the automatic doors with a HUGE crate and the TSA person zipped my undies up in the side of my bag and threw it on the cart. She jerked her thumb to the 4 chairs in the holding pen (quite the metropolitan airport, this was) so I scrammed. 

Nosily, i craned to hear that the gentleman with the crate was boarding a Golden Eagle.  You heard me. All sharp beak and claws, razor sharp vision and what not. Boy howdy, who gives a shit about my knives now? The man would not be joining, so it would just be the eagle. I wondered if they would allow him to fly unaccompanied, or would he have to sit with an attendant? Would he get the mini wings? Would he get to meet the jr. pilot?

Window or aisle? 

The TSA woman was explaining to the man that she had to take the bird OUT of the crate in order to"clear" the crate. Apparently, the Taliban also was hiring Golden Eagles. The man was frustrated and was offering to "squish" the eagle to one side and then the other so she could see clearly into the crate. The very wise-will-make-you-take-a-sweater-off-of-a-6-month-old-baby-TSA said "No." The eagle must come all of the way out of the crate to clear the crate. 

She stood her ground, or ..slouched her ground. 

The gentleman scratched his underneath his hat bill, frustrated. It really was quite early and he explained he had just wadded the bird into the crate and gotten him settled down enough to come here. 

I craned my nosy neck to hear and see this noise, but I couldn't see around the barrier. 

I could hear a lot of ruffling however, followed by what Mutual of Omaha would describe in a whisper as:

{{..a very pissed off bird..}}

Lots of squaking and whatnot. The handler was annoyed to have roused the bird again, and was complaining about the added stress of the bird. The TSA agent sounded very nervous and I wondered about her stress level as well. One false move and she would be working as a Pirate at Long John Silver's. Again.

Finally they stuffed Goldie back in with only a few more guttural crabby bird sounds and we loaded the plane. 

Just me and the Golden Eagle. Well, he went below, so I sat above all by myself, thinking how the Eagle was down there with my steak knives. Safe and sound, from each other. 

Thank God for the TSA. 


Random Girl said...

I have seen a lot of crazy small airport/TSA encounters but this takes the cake, hands down. Heres to hoping your TX trip is less eventful.

Danger Boy said...

I have a love hate relationship with the TSA. I love to hate them. Have you read my TSA rant?

There it is, just in case.

Hates them, precious. I hope you get through with as little hassle as possible. If not, I say beak 'em in the eye!

The Empress said...

At least they only managed to touch your undies (that you weren't wearing at the time) rather than your boobies.

Nicki said...

I remember the days when I used to love to fly. Before I cared that a TSA agent was pawing through my underwear or confiscating my corkscrew. Before I realized paying $7 for half a cocktail is ridiculous. Before I discovered my fear of getting my luggage in the overhead bins. I hate you, flying. I'd rather drive. I'd rather take a train. Frankly, I'd rather hitchhike.

The Onion said...

My sis wwas subjected to a round of "tune in Tokyo" over a snack-pak for Madzilla. She took one for the team.

Rosa (please roll the R) said...

i love a good rub down from TSA...what are you bitching about...*giggle*...have fun!

Sandra said...

haha! I love the part about whether the eagle was going to fly unaccompanied! You is funny missy!

Hannah said...

You totally crack me up with the bird needing to sit with an attendant or meeting the pilot! Funny stuff. The whole story kinda made me think of when we're shipping snakes because they always fly for overnight shipping. They don't have to come out of their boxes though because they're treated like every other box that gets shipped. I guess the fact that they probably aren't on commercial planes, but the UPS or FedEx planes makes a difference too. That would be a funny sight though if they had to open up the box and pull the snake out. People would be freaking out all over the place!

I also wanted to tell you that I gave you an award over at my place. It's waiting for you whenever you get a chance to pick it up.