When I was in high school living in Greendale, Wisconsin my friends and I used to get harassed by small town cops with nothing to do. The cops were the most two-faced humans on the face of the planet, wait, not all, but most of them. The majority would put on a facade of “hey, we’re your friends” but what they were really saying is, “hey shitbag, please sneeze so I can arrest you.” It was from my high school encounters that a subconscious hatred-seed was planted in my head and as time went on I grew to actually distain police officers. I never trusted them. I feel like I saw more officers walk with an air of entitlement rather than officers actually trying to help the public. It took longer than I care to admit to say that I respect police officers. As I’ve gotten older some of the best men I’ve met are officers. Solid guys sacrificing themselves for others. It took time for me to see that and I wish it didn’t, but my small town asshole cop named Officer Daniels ruined it for everyone.
Flash forward to current day: I’m now having the same adverse reaction to the airport TSA people as I did to cops and I don’t see this changing at any point in the future. The way that the TSA “structure” is supposed to be is the biggest load of bullshit that I can imagine. It’s nonsense. Literally, nonsense. Let me breakdown what happened today at LAX:
- Arrive to security.
- See the big magnetic new age body scanning machine and directly next to it is a traditional metal detector.
- See some people walk through the traditional metal detector with shoes and a belt on.
- Unload my belongings on the conveyor belt, take off my shoes and belt, approach the new age magnetic body scanning machine.
- I say to the TSA guy “hey, I want to walk through the other one.”
TSA guy says, “no, you have to go through this one (magnetic new age monster)."
Me: “Come on man, I see all these people going through that one, what’s the difference? And why do they have their shoes on?”
TSA guy: “You either walk through this one (fuck you magnetic one) or you opt out and do the pat down.”
TSA guy: “Seriously.”
TSA guy: “You opting out?”
Me: “Can I just walk through that other one? What exactly is the problem?”
TSA guy: “We’re only letting adults with children walk through there.”
Me: “Dude, I literally just saw a bunch of people walk through there without kids.”
TSA guy: “They had kids”
I’m now starting to get angry. I should note that I have this dark side that only comes out when an authoritative person like this starts bullshitting me. Oh, also, there were no kids walking through the traditional one. But it begs the questions, why the fuck aren’t kids walking through the new age machines? Are they harmful to kids? If so, aren’t they harmful to adults?
Me: “Seriously man, you’re going to tell me they had kids? There were no kids!”
My voice, slightly raised.
TSA guy: “So you’re opting out?”
Me: “Yes, fine.”
TSA dude calls someone over and says I’m opting out. I wait about 30 seconds and guess what, the new age magnetic machine stops working, someone yells that it needs to be re-calibrated, and then suddenly they direct everyone to the traditional machine.
I asked the guy if I could just go through the traditional machine, he said no, it was too late. I lost my shit. My arms were failing, I was literally on the verge of a breakdown. I started to bitch about how this doesn’t make sense and why can people suddenly walk through here?
I saw the look on this TSA guy’s face, and it was a look of total enjoyment. A look of knowing full well what he was doing. A look of entitlement. A look of unwarranted power as though he was actually doing something good. We all know the look. We’ve been there.
While I was ranting and yelling another TSA woman yelled from somewhere “Whats wrong?” I pleaded my case, trying to tell her I just want to walk through the machine. Why can’t I walk through the machine!?
As I was making a fool of myself they just let me stand there until the woman came over and told TSA guy to pat me down. As he took me over I asked him why some people were able to wear shoes and a belt and others couldn’t. He said
“If you pay $85.00 per year you can get a back ground check done and it will give you an express pass through security so you can keep your clothing on.”
Wow. You fucking kidding me?
He patted me down, I was angry, my fiancé just looked at me like I was nuts, knowing full well my problem with these guys. When it was all said and done I took one final glance at the smug assholes who actually thought they were doing something beneficial… And just like that, current day TSA people entered into the realm of the high school cops.
The thing is, I know that the TSA is meant for good but the reality is — It’s a total cluster fuck. There is no rhyme or reason, which is as much scary as it is frustrating. Everything about it makes no sense and I feel like we all know it, I even think the TSA knows it. It makes no sense to have a new magnetic body scanning machine and a traditional metal detector next to each other yet not allow someone to walk through whichever they choose. It makes no sense to allow someone to pay $85.00 per year to keep their shoes and a belt on. These are both just a big slap in the face.
So, that’s my vent while flying on an airplane. My attempt to not sound like an asshole when talking about such a sensitive subject. I want to note that while I fully acknowledge the good that is intended, it’s a faulty system, it just is. We’ve been scrambling for years to stop people from harming others at airports and keep out the “bad guys” and while we haven’t perfected that system we have perfected the art of frustrating travelers.
Last thing - Fuck you, Officer Daniels.