I’m excitedly writing to you from an iPad. Dont worry, I haven’t sold out. This iPad belongs to Roberta. Her dad gave it her because in Seattle society it reflects poorly on you if your only daughter is the only one at the coffee shop without an Apple product.
But, to get to the point of the blog.
This iPad ruined everything. You see, we were heading to Hawaii for our second honeymoon. I worked all night at the hospital for sick children and rude doctors with the plan that I would hurry home in the morning and get a ride to the airport from my landlord, Lou. With luck I would be so exhausted that I would fall asleep before the plane took off and then wake up in a tropical paradise.
Roberta and I finished up some last minute tasks in our house, I put my laptop in my backpack along with my wallet, then fed the cat. We ran around trying to remember every little thing we might need.
“Should I bring my iPad?” asked Roberta.
“Oh yeah, that sounds like a great idea, then I won’t have to take my laptop.”
Hans would tell you that my laptop should be called a tabletop because he and Roberta never have room on the table at the cafe for their electronics. So it was with a fair amount of lazy relief that I wouldn’t need to bring my clunker computer.
“Oh, we better go. It’s about time.” I said, always nervous about missing a plane, “You know what? Just leave the backpack since I won’t need to carry the laptop.”
We arrived at the airport with no problem and waved Lou goodbye. Being that we were flying Hawaiian airlines, the people at the check in desk were beautiful descendants of the Hawaiian kingdom.
We set our flight confirmation down on the table.
The Hawaiian princess smiled, “Aloha, do you have your I.D.?”
I reached down to my pocket to feel them completely empty. “Aloha shit.” I said.
“Tell me this is a joke.” Roberta said, “Please?”
“No, I left it in the backpack at home.”
While Roberta was stunned speechless the princess took a minute to interject. “You might be okay, the TSA has a new thing were they might let you through at their discretion.”
“That sounds like a horrible idea.”
She shook her head, “No, no it should work.”
I looked at Roberta “I’ll call Lou at home and have him bring me the backpack, we don’t live that far away. See? This is why we arrived early.”
Well, I spent the next forty five minutes calling Lou’s home phone when I should have grabbed a cab and retrieved it myself. The time for that had passed and only one option remained. I turned to Roberta, “We have to try.”
My ticket had emblazoned in big red letters “NO I.D.” Like a sad child holding a detention slip I handed it to the TSA man.
His lip curled at the sight of the tainted ticket and he examined it at length. “How old are you?”
“28″ I said trying to keep my lip from quivering.
“28 and no ID? You don’t fly.” He snapped and turned away.
Whelp, that went exactly as expected.
But apparently, that is not the case because a kind man in really official gear stepped forward. He told me he could call the central TSA people and if I passed their interrogation they would let me to stage two of the exam. “They are going to ask you some mega crazy questions.”
Well, they did.
Name, birthday, social security address. Easy.
Parents full names. Easy.
Parents birth dates. Easy. (See guys? I do remember your birthdays. Just not on your birthday.)
Current and previous address. Not so easy, I had to remember the crappy house share place I lived in two years ago while training at UW. Despite my best efforts to forget that place I still came up with the address.
State where I was issued my social security license. Texas.
We moved on. We covered my employment and places I went to college and the years I had attended. Including the months. Easy.
In fact, everything was really easy. And I realized why.
It was the same as the nine page Russian visa! I had refreshed everything in my head that the TSA used.
Ha! I bet our lazy governments just share the same damn form to make us all miserable.
“Last question, and then you can go to Hawaii.”
I felt like a games how contestant. I was about to win a trip or lose all the money I was waging on it.
“What is your wife’s birth date?”
So that was the TSA’s plan. Not only to sabotage my vacation, but also my marriage.
“July 27, 1979.”
I won. I won!
I got personally escorted through the x-ray scanner, my camera and associated carrying bag had every inch swabbed for bomb residue, gunpowder and even radiation from a potential dirty radiation bomb. They even threw in a full body massage, and boy do I mean FULL body. They called it the “Modified method.”
“Ooh that tickles” I said to make the young TSA man even more self conscious.
After he ran his gloves for explosive residue I was free. Free.
The kind man who made everything possible wished us a great trip, but warned “They are going to have to do the same thing on the way back. I don’t know how strict they are.”
Oh my god.
Disclaimer: With the exception of humpty grumpy at the start, the TSA crew were super professional and super nice at the same time. I highly recommend the Seattle TSA for anyone who is not a terrorist. For terrorists, I recommend getting a fake drivers license, otherwise these guys are going catch you.