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I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw her face.

Her blank expression. Those vacant eyes.

No, not Hillary Clinton.

The TSA drone.

She was checking IDs in front of the approach to the metal detectors and X-ray machines.

At the airport.

I swallowed hard. I wondered aloud: Was the federal government now hiring femme-bots to screen passengers?

Over and beyond was a line of people. Waiting to get through the security devices. That was the second line I'd have to navigate. For I already had waited in line -- a line which had raised my blood pressure and constricted my sphincter.

I observed the initial line upon entry into the terminal. At Sacramento International Airport when you enter Terminal A you instantly take into your sights the second-floor concourse. To determine whether and to what extent there is a line. That is to say: Whether there's a line to get up to the checkpoint. After which you again must wait in line. After which you retrieve your carry-on items and march towards your gate. To wait in line. To board your plane. Through the connector. Where you wait in line. To cross the threshold. To obtain your seat. During which time you're waiting. In line. For people to put away their f'n worthless belongings and to sit down, please, why don't you, before I f'n scream?!?!

But I digress.

The first line itself was an ordeal. I knew it in advance. Upon entering the terminal I saw the line. Like a condemned man seeing the gallows from the window of his cell.

I went up the escaltor and reached the back of that line. More people soon followed. I use the term "people" loosely. A majority of them could have doubled for extras in "The Howling." Most of the remainder could have doubled for aliens.

No, Buchanan, not illegal aliens; space aliens.

It was like being stranded at a Democrat convention.

This was on a Friday. I was flying to Las Vegas. To see my woman. I was happy about that. I needed to be. I needed something to give me hope. For I'd have to wait in line. Multiple lines. With werewolves. And space aliens. Democrats too. I know, that's redundant. For the privilege of waiting in line. To deal with government drones.

Speaking of which I had to ask aloud: From where does TSA obtain its drones? The circus? The insane asylums? Democrat caucus meetings???

I had to wait in line. Thrice more before arriving at McCarron.

There also would be lines after I landed in Sin City.

Thinking of those lines of space alien Democrats caused white foam to formulate at the corners of my mouth. For a split second I thought I was Lawrence O'Donnell.

When the female TSA screener looked into my eyes I realized she wasn't a femme-bot. My mistake. She must have been a mannequin. Controlled by remote.

I handed her my boarding pass and my photo ID. This wasn't at all like elections in Democrat precincts; to proceed all of us had to show photo IDs.

The femme-bot, no, the mannequin, looked at me, then my ID, then my boarding pass. Then a second time. A third time. What on earth could be the difficulty? My name is not common. I'm not John Smith. I also have a beard. So too does the man bearing my name and my likeness on my photo ID. Even a cursory glance would have proved I was the person to whom that boarding pass had been issued. But it took several hours, okay, several moments, before that simple, incontovertible fact registered with the femme-bot, er, the TSA mannequin.

At the head of the next line, to get through the metal detectors, was a woman in a wheelchair. She was about 50 years old. Her face was directly out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

They were making her go through the security checkpoint.

For what conceivable purpose, I wondered.

What are the odds that al-Qaeda has infiltrated suburban tupperware clubs to recruit jihadi suicide bombers from the ranks of disabled, Caucasian housewives?

I wondered aloud if they would screen my mother. Sure, of course, she's in her 70s, she can hardly walk, but, hey, this is TSA about which we're speaking -- they'd probably want to profile the woman. They won't go ahead and profile 20 year-old Arabs, but, hey, hold it right there, ma'am, is that a bomb you're trying to smuggle onto this plane? No, you moron, that's my artificial knee.

But I digress.

I got through the metal detector. Then I heard seven words that chilled me to the bone. No, not "you have to pay for Edwards' haircuts." That would've been far beyond the pale. I'd never be able to afford that. I'd have to declare bankruptcy on the spot.

But I digress.

The chilling words were:

"We need a bag check over here."

My bag.

My blood pressure rose.

Apparently the bomb in my small suitcase, which actually was a small tube of toothpaste, had caught the eye of the TSA drone manning the X-ray machine.

More delay. More government drones.

At last, finally, mercifully, I was through and headed towards my gate.

Out of habit I looked at the computer screen showing arrivals and departures.

My flight was delayed.

The synapses in my brain started misfiring.

My plane hadn't been delayed when I arrived at the airport. But now it was behind schedule. What could have happened? Did the incoming pilots go into hover mode 100 miles downrange so they could share a few cocktails with low-orbiting NASA astronauts?

My blood pressure rose.

I waited.

Three more lines beckoned -- A, B and C. To board the plane. I glanced at the TV monitor near the gate. CNN was on the tube. Anderson Cooper.

I doused myself with gasoline and lit a match.

I was waiting in line.


Surrounded by space aliens. Democrats too. Yes, I know, that's redundant.

Finally I arrived at my seat. I had not crossed the proverbial finish line, however. The man who sat down next to me weighed about 300 pounds and smelled like a used laundry hamper.

I tried to make myself spontaneously combust. I didn't want to continue -- I'd given up. I wanted to end it all right there, on that plane, next to the used laundry hamper. I strained and struggled. I tried mentally to project that little girl from the movie version of "Firestarter."

It didn't work. No flames erupted from my ear sockets. The plane took off. I endured that smell. It would have knocked out a pathologist.

Finally I arrived in Las Vegas.

More lines. I nearly became as depressed as a trust-funded liberal college student.

There was a line to be navigated before I could alight the tram to get to the ground level of the terminal. There was another line to cross the street to get to the parking garage. Space aliens all around me. Democrats too. That's redundant, I know, but there were so many of them. I felt surrounded. Like I was in a real-life version of "They Live."

In Las Vegas that day it was 105 degrees in the shade.

I was freezing cold.


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Comments (14)

Ahhhh..... the very reason... (Below threshold)

Ahhhh..... the very reasons I haven't been on an airplane since January 2004, articulated...........

My sentiments, exactly.... (Below threshold)

My sentiments, exactly.

The lower prices to fly, which have democratized flying, means that any slob now can afford a ticket and slobs now seem to out number non-slobs in airplanes these days.

Additional peeve: self-important cell phone loud talkers.

You must not fly very often... (Below threshold)

You must not fly very often. I fly all the time and it takes me no time and no hassle to get through security. It's ignorant fliers like yourself that gum up the works and delay people like me who sail through security (because we know the rules and are prepared).

Get over yourself.

space aliens and Dems every... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

space aliens and Dems everywhere....hmmm sounds like you took some brown acid...hope you had some B12 and listened to some Allman Brothers when you got to Vegas

You lack good reading mater... (Below threshold)

You lack good reading material! I suggest Dean Koontz, because nothing makes long lines and weird people more reassuring than reading a really scary book. Get a good paperback and dive in. The best part about books is that you can shuffle forward in line and read at the same time. A good book is all the armor you need when you enter the Dreadful Land of Airport Travel.

I think you mean Invasion o... (Below threshold)

I think you mean Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Now try all that having had a total knee replacement KNOWING they're going to pull you aside forever even though you fly over 110,000 miles a year.

In the last few months, I h... (Below threshold)

In the last few months, I have flown out of SFO to Paris and Rome.

Never had a security problem. The lines were not bad. I did, however, have to take off my shoes.

I must commend the Delta people in Rome. There was a charming southern girl operating the pre-screen entry into the Delta area. She scanned my passport, smiled, and sent me on my way. The ticket/luggage people were FAST.

The only bad thing was a crying baby for 11 hours from Rome to Atlanta.

I've performed the Sacramen... (Below threshold)

I've performed the Sacramento to Las Vegas two-step, and I remember the sinking feeling after seeing the first long and winding line after entering the terminal. It takes the wind out of your sails.

Flying used to be fun.

"With werewolves. And space... (Below threshold)

"With werewolves. And space aliens. Democrats too."

I live in mASS, that just about sums up my average day!!

LMAO..... great story

By the way, Lisinopril works great for my blood pressure......lol

i've never had a problem at... (Below threshold)

i've never had a problem at the airport *knock on wood*. I've only flown twice though. Detroit to memphis, tn and back. And then Flint, MI to Atlanta.

As someone who flies a lot ... (Below threshold)

As someone who flies a lot (usually to report to a ship), its only as easy as you make it.

I just want to know if they make the AIR PACKAGES being sent on the plane underneath us go through the same screening.

Carlos Mencia's "Not for the Easily Offended"'s "Nigga in a box" (A DVD of Carlos Mencia in a standup, he talks about a black guy that airmailed himself to his mother, and Carlos kept going off about "Nigga in a box") comes to mind. They make us go through all that, then they don't check air freight so who knows what's underneath you inside the f*cking plane.

I fly on a regular basis.<b... (Below threshold)

I fly on a regular basis.
Everyone knows the drill. Folks that try to slip by are a royal pain. I don't buy the innocent angle one bit. Throw your stuff in the box, take the shoes off and get on with the trip.
While you're at it, when you board the plane, throw the bag in the overhead and SIT DOWN. Get the heck out of the way of others so the flight can leave on time.

Frequent flyer here. Stop ... (Below threshold)

Frequent flyer here. Stop whining. Travel may have been romantic at one time. Today you must be prepared to suffer indignities of multiple kinds. Why do you think Hotel ads feature road warriors collapsing into plush beds - cuz thats the way it works. Folow the procedures and don't try to game the TSA system. The rules are simple - PLEASE try to avoid amateur hour at the
TSA checkpoint

Been through Sacramento a f... (Below threshold)

Been through Sacramento a few times, and you missed the line at the Airline Counter and the Drones there. However, there are Right wing drones in the area as well. When I lived in Vegas, flying into Vegas (coming home) I always enjoyed the folks signing and joking - SWA always a riot between the pilot overheads and the Stew's Stand Up. However, when I was leaving to go somewhere distant, for some reason most of the passengers were grim, red-eyed and silent... ...sounds like you at SAC. Meybe you'd been to a reservation Casino b4 u left.






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