I have this black trench coat that I like to wear, especially when traveling. I’ve realized there’s a couple of problems with that; the first being, who the fuck wears black trench coats?; the second being, airport security doesn’t quite like it when their passengers look “sketchy.” And nothing says “sketchy” like a black trench coat. In addition to the coat, I have dark hair, bangs, and beat up black leather Doc Martins.
I was fully aware I was trying to get on a plane looking like some criminal from the late 1800s, but there was not much I could do about it. My coat and boots were too big to fit in my small suitcase and I wasn’t about take my large suitcase as a “checked bag” and have to go through baggage claim when the plain landed. Also, my dark hair was just a part of my personality and I wasn’t about to lighten it for the sake of a week-long trip to Portland and a few hours in an airport.
So, I stood in the line before security, hoping my flowy, flamingo-printed button-down, blue jeans, and earnest doe eyes would make me appear as minimal of a threat as possible.
I showed them my I.D. (my passport, because I had mo state-issued driver’s license to flash) and boarding pass, and I was told to “take care now” by a nearby TSA agent.
What did I think I had to be worried about? They totally didn’t see me as a threat! For all I know, they probably thought I looked like a lost 12-year-old. All would be well, and I could calm my anxiety.
The actual security check, however, proved my fears correct. I had to be pat down- only my right arm and left ankle, though, but still! My shirt was short sleeves and practically see-through if one looked close enough, in the right lighting, so what did they think I could be hiding in the few inches of a sleeve that existed? The ankle check I understood. My jeans were tucked into crew cut, black socks, causing a lumpy appearance around my ankle. I get how that’s a bit questionable. However, they also had me turn around to check the back of my head and neck and I still don’t understand what could have been suspicious about that. My hair barely touches my shoulders, so there’s nothing I could possibly be hiding with it.
Whatever the case, I made it through the swift pat down and began collecting my items off the security belt. My messenger bag wasn’t there. They were holding it aside.
“Is this your bag, mam?”
“It is, yeah,” I responded.
“we’re just gonna have a quick look through it over there.” He pointed to a small metal table equipped with some small x-ray machine.
Oh, I thought, I wrapped a spare camera lens in a fuzzy sock and a candle in the matching sock. It’s weird to have things wrapped in socks…I get why that’s suspicious…oh shit. But how else was I supposed to transport them safely??? The candle was in a glass container and the sense, well, it’s a lens- expensive and fragile.
After a quick look, the security guard saw that it was just that- a lens and a candle. He didn’t take anything away or tell me anything else was a matter with my bag.
I said a thank you and a quick “have a nice day” before heading to my gate. I was a tad shaken and ridden with anxiety, but when was I not?
I sent a text to my mom that read:
made it through security and to my gate okay
everything go okay?
To which I said:
The full story was superfluous.
Maybe I’ll blog about it, I thought to myself.