Monday, March 24, 2008

In Case of Emergency

It was all my fault, really, because apparently when your driver’s license expires like mine did (Saturday) – you’re automatically a criminal in the eyes of Hartsfield Int’l. I tried to explain to the airport checkpoint lady this morning that I was turkey hunting on my birthday, hence – unable to make it to the DMV. I’m not sure I was able to convey to her exactly what that meant, but I think I left her with the fuzzy idea that wild turkeys somehow prevented me from getting a drivers license. I’m glad I was able to connect with another human being on that level, but ultimately it did me little good.

I made what I would consider my first "serious mistake" in the situation when, upon being asked for "alternate identification" I cheerfully produced my nicely-laminated firearms license. I said, "well, no I don't really have anything else - how about my concealed carry license? Will that work?"

Without further ado she immediately scribbled all over my boarding pass in orange highlighter and handed me off to somebody else for “extra screening” which, I now know, means “gloved man-on-man rubdown.”

Don’t get me wrong – everybody should experience the healing power of a little physical touch now and again, right?

Well, I certainly think so……and since I have no internal monologue - I said so - out the big airport security guard just as he wrapped up the first "leg" (no pun intended) of the highly scientific groping process TSA calls “patting down."

Based on the thin-lipped expression that settled like a dark cloud across his face at 5:42AM this morning, I’d say he did not want to be my source of healing.

It was early, so I figured, “well – that didn’t work, but I’ve still got time to cheer him up!” Which I believe is consistent with my habit of repeating a joke louder, and longer, when it doesn’t float over well the first time. Somewhere deep in my head I assume that if you’re not laughing - you must not have heard me well.

It is probably no surprise to you, then, that my next attempts: “whoa, just a little to the left there, buddy!!” and “Don’t touch me there ‘less you mean it!!” were also not well-received.

Some people can’t take a joke. Fortunately I can – and I had plenty of time to think of my next one because Mr. Security Guard, Sir, left me an extra 10 minutes in that big glass frisking box where they keep all sorts of terrible people including criminals, bad people, terrorists, farmers, and nursing mothers.

Having never actually been inside a hamster cage myself, I never thought much about how it must feel to be a glass-enclosed rodent, and buddy, it ain’t a great feeling. There is something about being enclosed in 4-sides glass in the middle of a crowded room that just makes one a tiny bit self-conscious. I don’t really know why - the only real difference is that, instead of standing alone in the center of a room, you’re suddenly find yourself standing alone in the center of a room surrounded by a thin, clear barrier. But in case you’re wondering – its incredibly weird; and people definitely stare. I mean straight at you – from inches away. I guess they figure there aren’t that many opportunities in life to really, seriously, commit yourself to stare at somebody straight in the face from inches away in a crowded room AND not have to worry much about consequences. I guess I can see that; a stare-for-free opportunity is like money in the dryer.

One little chubby lady held up the security line a full 30 seconds while she committed my form to memory. She looked so satisfied, that when they let me out – I decided to hang around for a second and see what the next person looked like under glass myself.

I missed the window though because security asked me to “take my bags and move along.” I noticed the designated patter-downer was eyeballing me and snapping his gloves, so I took their advice (and my bags) and immediately tripped over one of those little rubber floor mats, got up, and headed for the train.

The underground train ride at Hartsfield is always exciting for me because, as soon as I set foot onboard, I immediately start to wonder about underground-train-related deaths. Whenever I say that; people look at me like I just bit the head off a live pidgeon or something. So hey – listen, I’m not crazy. YOU are crazy! Have YOU ever seen an actual DRIVER on one of those trains? ME NEITHER, but I’m the nutty one for thinking, "hey – we’re hopping on back of the headless horseman here at 50mph and I’m a little nervous about it???"

All I’m saying is – who’s driving? It ain’t me and I know for sure it ain’t you, but somebody’s in charge and for all you know - HE got off at Concourse T. That thing doesn’t just “wind up” like a watch and even if it did – I’m not riding a windup watch at 55mph UNDERGROUND for you or anybody. While we’re talking about it - if you think that leather handle thong thingy hanging off the ceiling is going to help you – you’re out of your element.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about. That’s also why, when that door opens at my destination, you’d do well to stand clear.

I made it through the headless train ride (this time) but it made me really hungry. Fortunately, there was a Krystal handy – and coffee, which; 2.5 hrs later (30,000ft over Texas) I realize may have been a key strategic error on my part because, friend, if any of that bizarre blue water in the lavatory gets anywhere on my person – there’s going to be a me-shaped hole in the side of this plane. They wouldn’t be nearly as worried about the smoke detectors if they knew the speed at which I can get that emergency door open.

Don’t bother to tell me about the flotation cushions; thats not what I'm worried about. I just need to know how to get away from that blue stuff.

1 comment:

Stewart said...

Last year, I too made a key strategic error by eating at Waffle House before getting on a plane headed to India.

Other key strategic errors? Eating Indian food before going... anywhere.