With the holidays comes travel, hence my husband and I booked a flight to visit our oldest daughter who recently moved to Minnesota. Perhaps because we left on Tuesday, the lines at Philadelphia airport weren’t as long as we anticipated. Even putting all of our belongings into various security bins for scanning wasn’t so bad. We took off our shoes, belts and bracelets. My husband went through without a glitch, I on the other hand was chosen for a pat down. I blame it on the skirt I wore. It was a flowing wool number, very comfy and warm too. My imagination got the best of me and, apparently them too. Who was to know what was under all those folds of fabric? Maybe they thought I had a revolver taped to my thigh underneath my brown Scandinavian skirt? Now, before you get all excited, it wasn’t that big of a deal. For me anyway.
Who is under the microscope here?
The TSA [transportation security administration] worker who patted me down appeared to be past middle aged. She looked friendly, but nervous. I actually felt bad for her. Not because I have a gross body or anything, although I’m sure she gets some folks that I know I wouldn’t want to touch! I felt bad for her because it was an embarrassing position to hold. She wasn’t a nurse, doctor or health worker. At the time of her hire, she probably never thought in her wildest dreams that she’d be running her hands up women’s skirts.
The agent informed me before hand what she would be doing with the back of her hand. Not much feeling going on with the back of a hand folks. After she told me the drill, she gave me the option of having the search done in private. I declined that offer mostly because I wasn’t sure what they’d try to get away with in private; at least in view of the multitude of travelers, there had to be some sort of decorum of respect. I also felt that her calm demeanor, with that touch of nervous-embarrassment gave her an edge. Who would be the one to pat me down in private? Certainly not every TSA worker has the same professional standards. Every personality is different and getting someone who has a big ego along with an agenda could be a nightmare. Just watch the evening news to see some of the horror stories.
So, how was it?
She was as thorough as she could be using the back of her blue-gloved hand. She had asked me ahead of time if I had any “sensitive” areas on my body, to which I smirked before answering ‘no.’ as she ran her hands up each leg, my back, front, sides, etc. She spoke to me. “I’m going to go up the back of your right leg now. I’m going to feel your back now.” And so on. She never went underneath my skirt. She kept the fabric between me and her. It was quick, painless and I was not humiliated in any way.
Needless to say, another woman might feel differently. Understandable. Our bodies are our private possessions. We don’t like strangers touching them.
The TSA worker probably sighed in relief when she was done with me. After all, this is not her choice- not what she ever thought the job would hold for her down the line. And, heaven help her if I was toting a pistol in my garter belt! The poor thing looked ready to retire, not die patting down a gun wielding holiday traveler! So, have a little bit of empathy for her. She was told to do this. The one to be angry with is Osama Bin Laden. Or if you choose, be mad at our own government for not securing our borders better. But not the lady with the blue gloves. She’s just waiting to retire and put this all behind her.