Sunday, September 17, 2006

If I had a title bar I would title this post "A rant on Airport Security and Other Thoughts Regarding Flying"

I didn't use to hate flying. I use to like it. The ability to go from home to somewhere exotic in just a few hours was so alluring. I admit I had my moments of fear especially when things would be bumpy, but all in all it wasn't that bad.

Then I became a mother. What is it about becoming a parent and realizing that you are mortal? I always knew I was human and that being so I would die someday, but it never seemed real or bothered me all that much. And why has flying become the end all to the fear of dying? I really don't know. Actually I guess it's not the fear of dying, it's more the fear of seeing my children afraid or in pain and knowing there isn't a thing I can do about it. That terrifies me. I am a self acknowledged control freak. I absolutely realize that I stand more chance on every day of the week of meeting my end while driving in my car. But in that situation I would know that ever single thing that would be possible to avoid tragedy would have been done. Because I would be in control. But on a plane, well, you just have to hope that the captain isn't tired, isn't drunk, and doesn't have ADD.

We flew yesterday. And I think I muttered the words "I hate this stupid security stuff" about a million times. It's really a joke. I believe that with my whole heart. I believe it is nothing but a show, and I believe that it is only a matter of time before another tragedy strikes and the stupid people who check your tickets and look in your luggage won't have made any difference except to piss us off and make people miss their flights. Because evil will always exist, and for some reason evil likes to use airplanes. I have to rant on the TSA people for just a minute as well. I seriously doubt the education of any of these people, and that is the reason I think the whole security thing is a sham. Take this experience for instance. When we were leaving Denver we had to hand our tickets and ID to the woman checking them. She takes my ticket and James ID, holds them against each other, acts like she is reading them and comparing names. She then takes James ticket and my ID (which she holds upside down), and repeats the act. Then she checks them both off and sends us on our way. There is no way she was reading them. No. Stinking. Way. I was standing a mere inches from her. She was totally faking it. If the people who are checking stuff can't even read English what makes anyone think they know how to read scanners or x-rays or anything with much efficiency? Seriously. So anyway, back to Chicago. We went through the whole thing again, with them even making Gracie take her shoes off, and I felt just so violated and so intruded upon during the whole thing. It makes no sense. A two year old has to take her shoes off? This whole "we can't profile because that would be prejudice" thing has gotten so out of hand. We can't profile those that look dangerous, so instead we'll just inconvenience everyone and make babies take their shoes off. (Of course that is nothing compared to the wanding that Juniper received at security when she was, I believe, only 3 months old. Go to Sweet Juniper and read the post. It is truly unbelievable.) And the thing that really gets me is the people who say "Well, whatever it takes to keep us all safe." Do you really believe that? Honestly? That taking your shoes off is going to stop those who really want to harm us? And all of this liquid stuff now, truly crazy. We went through with two sippy cups and they didn't even ask about them, didn't make us take a sip or anything. And we purchased a bottle of orange juice on the concourse that we put in the diaper bag and took on the plane. No one asked, no one looked. It's just nonsense, plain and simple. Anyway, I will stop now. Suffice it to say that I think the whole thing is a crock.

So, we get to our plane and we board and then we sit and wait. And wait. And wait. And finally someone gets on the PA and says "We have a problem with this plane, one of the tire pressure gauges is broken, and because of that we have to abide by a weight limit, and we are over limit so we need 4 people to get off the plane. We will guarantee you seats on the next flight this afternoon, give you meal vouchers, and give you $200 towards another plane ticket with no restrictions." And not a soul moves. No one offers to get off. They made the announcement like 3 times, and then threatened to boot off the last 4 people that checked in. Finally a couple said they would go. And I am sitting there thinking we should get off. I mean, it's free plane tickets for another trip. It's the chance to go through security again for another trip, what fun!! And who wants to ride on the broken plane anyway. So I mention it to James, and he looks at me like I'm nuts. And I'm like "but it's free plane tickets!!" So we wait and wait and wait some more and no one offers. By this point the plane is probably 30 minutes past departure. So I ring the stewardess and say we'll get off if they will cover all 3 of our tickets (Ian was a lap baby). And she looks at me like I'm nuts! And then she says to me "but you have children." And I wanted to say to her "Really, are you kidding me? Where are they, I don't see them. I have children? Wow!" But instead I say "yeah, that's fine." So she went to ask whoever was in charge if they would do it for 3 tickets and they said yes, and so we got off. We ended up spending 5 hours on Concourse A of Midway Airport. It was actually not too bad. We rode the moving sidewalks. A lot. Gracie thought they were just dandy until as she was stepping onto one a nice elderly gentleman decided to talk to her and she looked at him and forgot what she was doing and stepped down and it grabbed her foot and she went flying backwards and hit her head hard on the metal railing. Then she didn't like them anymore.

We survived the flight just fine, we ate Fritos the airline so graciously supplied and the kids napped. I told Gracie that the plane was driven by a pilot and she got these huge eyes and said "A Pirate???" I laughed and tried to explain the difference. She's had a pirate obsession lately (thank you captain feathersword), but I think she finally understood. It was a little bumpy coming into Denver and Gracie started yelling "Wheeeee, I see the clouds, I see the ground. We're going down, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee." I decided against trying to explain that saying "we're going down" isn't such a great thing to yell on a plane. I'll get to that when she's a bit older!

1 comment:

samantha said...

Hey, sorry to laugh but you did make it sound comical!! Great that you got the tickets though!! I don't understand about all the security stuff--I fly international and hardly ever have that kind of trouble--I mean you know Gracie looks like she would just love to blow something up!!! I think it depends on the mood that people are in on the day you fly!! Anyway, glad you had a nice trip!!