The TSA Special

flying, travel , ,

I was the lucky recipient of a random TSA screening going through security at LAX en route to Ecuador. When I dressed myself for the flight, I was proud of myself for selecting an outfit in such a way as to not have to remove any article of clothing or accessory and not have the machine go off. My belt-less and bra-less (free-tittin!) efforts served no purpose when the lights above the machine flashed red and beeped after I walked through. I was selected for a random screening which consisted of my palms being swabbed and tested for what I can only imagine to be ominous residue – gun powder is the only residue that comes to mind at the moment. Paul Revere would have been screwed trying to fly in 21st century America. And quite frankly, his trusty horse would have delivered him to his destination at about the same time that Delta would have. Can you see a theme developing here of how much I enjoy modern air travel?

I’ve had this palm swab performed before so thought nothing of it until the testing machine started flashing an “ALERT” message on its screen that looked like something out of 1980s PAC-MAN. The male TSA agent muttered how the machine had acted up before and I thought it was either that or the steroid hand cream that I applied earlier that day. Because steroids are not just for bodybuilders and athletes, they’re also for middle-aged white ladies with severely dry skin. When the TSA agent couldn’t find a female agent to conduct what I could only assume to be an in-depth cavity search, the ‘roid rage was real. Finally, a female agent surfaced and I was treated to the “TSA Special”. I was asked if I wanted to go into a private room to get my private parts fondled but I thought what the hell, let’s put on a show for these weary travelers.

After this unpleasant experience, I self-soothed with wine for an hour and half before our flight boarded. When Michael saw the bill, his eyes bugged and did a double take.

“Jesus Christ, you drank $60 worth of wine?”

This did not seem unreasonable to me, especially since everyone knows airport alcohol is marked up a gazillion percent and also this amount seemed pretty on point to me and my historic wine consumption. Welcome to my work happy hours!

Once we boarded the COPA flight and were taxiing on the runway before takeoff, the pilot greeted us through the loudspeaker and mentioned that we would have a smooth flight except for a rough patch of air above Mexico that we would hit between one to two hours after takeoff.

“Because as you know, it is Mexico, so there will be bumps.” The pilot informed the passengers with a knowing chuckle.

I seemed to be the only visibly concerned passenger, swiveling my head from side to side trying to lock eyes with my seat mates to see if their eyes were filled with as much bewilderment as mine.

What about Mexico, guys? Why is it known to be turbulent? I need answers. How does someone drop this kind of cliffhanger and not explain the context in detail. There were people on this plane (me) one fart away from an anxiety attack followed by a full blown mental breakdown. When I fly to Vegas, the pilot makes it very clear that the stomach-dropping roller coaster ride is due to the hot air and something or other about hot air being thinner than regular air and thus turbulent. As I reread that sentence above I realize it makes zero sense to me but it still is placating and serves its purpose of providing an explanation to keep that bitch named Panic at bay. Because believe you me, when the plane dips precariously and I start clutching crotches, at least I know why. The air is thin and it can’t keep the plane up in a calm and collected fashion. I’m still a wreck of nerves but at least I’m in control of information. A flippant remark about experiencing turbulence flying over Mexico “because it’s Mexico” is not going to cut it for this anxiety-ridden, ‘roid-raging lady.

So naturally after hearing this thrilling information, I popped my special flying medicine that starts with an X and ends with an X and was ready to hit the metaphorical hay. Unfortunately my wine and Xanax (in case you couldn’t decipher this from my clever hint above) cocktail had the opposite effect on me on this flight and I was awake, alert, and alarmed by the time we hit the first patch of turbulence above Mexico. Happy travels!

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