Agent Terroriseur

(image by sugarpie honeybunch on Flickr)

Clutching my laptop and hauling my now considerably lighter carry-on bag I head for Security, anticipating all sorts of faffery.  In this, I am not disappointed.  There is, of course, the usual plastic bag farce.  I’m prepared for this, and have already extricated my make-up bag from the tangle of cables in my suitcase.  However, unlike when I first flew to Italy from Terminal 2, when the nice lady at Security had a good old chat with my mum and me while she decanted all my make-up into the plastic bag for me, the chap at Terminal 4 just shoves a bag in my direction and points me to the side while I sort myself out.  Given that I’m already juggling a laptop and a suitcase, this actually takes quite a while.  Still, I get it done eventually, and head on to the queues of people waiting to be allowed through Security.

Given Gordon’s blustering about the immediate installation of X-ray scanners, I’d half expected to see them here.  Thankfully, however, it seems it’s still just the standard metal detectors.  We do all have to remove our shoes and every single layer of outer clothing, though, so the queue is moving desperately slowly.  I’m absolutely sweltering, having dressed in about 100 layers when I left home in the snow that morning.  Every time I think about taking my coat off and shoving it in my bag, though, the queue moves forward and I’m left desperately trying to rezip, while trying to pick everything that I’ve just dropped up from the floor.  I give it up as a bad job, and continue to sweat.

Finally I reach the front of the queue, and obediently remove my shoes, remembering just too late that I’m wearing ridiculously garish socks.  Damn.  I shuffle through the metal detector.  It beeps.  A particularly serious-looking woman beckons me over and asks what I think might have caused it.  I assume it’s my belt, so remove it.  She also suggests that it could have been my necklace, which I’d forgotten about.  I shrug and smile.  She glares at me.  Oops.  She gestures that I should assume the position, and pats me down almost indecently thoroughly.  Thank goodness she’s wearing gloves, as the sweat patches under my arms are, by this stage, less patches and more rivers.  The Italians would be scandalised.  Not finding anything obviously bomb-like, she scowls and fetches the mobile metal detector, which she proceeds to run over me.  Sure enough, my necklace sets it off, as do the rivets on my jeans.  She then runs it down my right hand side, and it beeps.  There is a moment of confusion and then I realise what has caused it and burst into laughter.  She gives me a death stare to beat all death stares.  I can’t stop laughing, though.  “It’s my bra!  It’s the underwire in my bra!” I manage to splutter.  I giggle helplessly as she pats me down yet more thoroughly.  Security lady is, like Queen Victoria, unamused. I, however, chortle all the way to the boarding gate.
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About Kate Bailward

Kate Bailward is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
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7 Responses to Agent Terroriseur

  1. Sarah says:

    GAK ! What a palaver.

    I have come to hate security. Flying back last time the security snake was so long that Son of Thor and I ended running like mad things for the boarding gate, in bare feet, with me dripping a trail of little plastic bags and sandals behind me as I tried and failed to hold on to everything they had hauled out of my bag, plus all the stuff they had made us strip off.

    My new worry if that somebody will tell the squirt what the new body x ray machines will reveal.

    At the airport I really really really don't need the kind of outraged, puritan, mule-like refusal to co-operate we get at the docs when she wants to inspect his willy and makes a move on his underwear.

  2. punctuation says:

    No-one in the world exceeds the gruffness and insouciance for jovial British humour than the US Border Department of Homeland Security or, as they are amusingly called here: The DHS (which does sound like they sell expensive handbags and spray perfume at you from the shellac hands of over-painted flim flam girlies).

    Every time I have had the misfortune to deal with them they have been robotically bastard-like; even shouting at me one time when I failed to hear the (literally) muttered questions of one forcing him, gasp, to repeat himself.

    Every time..except, of course, until the turning point… when I arrived with my immigration visa in hand marking me as a potential legal resident of the USA. It was midnight, the place was deserted and the DHS (snigger) guy stamped my visa even before he had opened my three inch thick packet of immigration documentation. He joked with me, asked the right "are you a terrorist" questions, smiled a lot and finished with "Welcome to America Mr Barker". Very odd indeed. In fact – since that time I've had to visit various US Government buildings for things like fingerprinting, biometrics, Social Security card, State I.D. and so on and they have all been, well, lovely really. W e i r d.

    Hey ho.

  3. jmisgro says:

    I was so paranoid that my bra would set off the metal detector in October when we came over but it didn't. But I saw on TV that JFK doesn't have good security!?!

  4. Ggnitaly84 says:

    hahhaha @punctuation..

    DHS that made me laugh.. I have had a similar experience ( albeit worse is my guess) . I was detained for 7 HOURS in london stansted ( im american ) and shuffled into the room with about 7 other people ( from isreal and brazil with whom I then made an instant bond with…detainess i suppose) and then sent back to Dusseldorf for "flying too much" or "at risk to stay in the Uk longer" which is what they told me even though I am legal in Italy ..( where I live..) .. The nice plane ride back to the city I had just flown was at least semi-pleasant in that a woman from air-berlin gave me a bag of chocolates ( i am assuming out of pity from looking at the bags under my eyes are my terrified expression..this was like 11 hours flying time by now..) .. when i arrived i was last to exit the plane ( they kept my passport hostage by the pilot) and greeted at the tarmac by a police car…no joke.. where i was then taken to the police station where they declared everything a "mis-understanding" by the UK border control and i was sent on my merry little way ( a little stinkier and crabbier ) the next day..

    this is the world we live in … che palle!

    that said.. your bra set off the metal detector? 10 points katja! :)

  5. Katja says:

    Oh my GOD, Georgette! That must have been terrifying. I'd have been totally freaking out. The really stupid thing is that none of this actually does very much. How many times have you got through border control with a bottle of water/penknife/scissors that you'd forgotten about in your hand luggage? Cos I know I've done it loads of times and then got to the other end and gone, 'eek!' So much for the super-security. *rolls eyes*

  6. The first time my boyfriend came to the US, he was detained for 2 hours… only because he had packed salume and cheese! Since he does not speak English well (we speak in Italian), another passenger had to translate for him all their questions. The one officer asked so many questions that the other officer asked, “so are you going to ask him out on a date now?” LOL I felt terrible that they had detained him because he brought food with him that he couldn’t carry on the plane. I hadn’t even thought of him not being able to bring salume.
    PassagetoItaly´s last post ..Fear of the Sea

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