I don't fly very often. My latest experience this month through airport security was much different than last summer's trip to Europe. It was much more invasive. This time I was sent through the new (and controversial) body scanner. I was asked to go through, my husband was not. I didn't like it. I was asked to remove my hoodie and assume the position inside the machine. After being cleared I gathered my belongings. Since we were early for our flight, I told my husband that I would like to stand over to the side and observe the scanning process for a few minutes. He went into a bookstore and I stood discretely to the side. It seemed on this particular morning the "flavor of the day" was to select those (myself included) who appeared to be possible candidates for The Biggest Loser. I was not amused. Some who did not go through the scanner were taken aside to be frisked (or rather groped) by the guards wearing the blue latex gloves.
Now, I realize that many will say, "Oh, I'll do anything to insure my safety while traveling." I, say, however, "This is one more win for the terrorists by taken away our freedoms."
On the return trip after going through security and this time even being asked to remove our socks, I was summoned over by a burly-looking security guard and told he would have to search my carry-on. My mind raced thinking what I had packed that would cause concern. (Remember, I haven't flown very much.) I had my little approved baggie of 3 oz. bottles and some clothing/jewelry items I'd bought for two of my daughters April birthdays. The guard proceeded to ransack through my bag and then triumphantly pulled out my wrapped jar of Washington Marionberry Jam which I had purchased as a thank you for my mom who had so kindly agreed to house-sit for us. Oh my...I hadn't even thought about that item. "I'm sorry ma'am, but I will have to ask you to surrender this item." My face flushed and I mumbled something about not traveling very often. As I took my bag and we walked away, I was kind of angry that the $7 gift jar of jam which my mom deserved had been taken away from me.
About a half-hour into our flight home as the stewardesses (or whatever they are now called) began their little snack-serving, I watched across the aisle as a woman took a beautiful large avocado from her bag, a KITCHEN BUTTER KNIFE and a spoon and then proceeded to cut the avocado! WHAT?! That got through security and my jam didn't?? I tried to reason in my head, thinking perhaps she was diabetic or had some other medical need and was given a doctor's note to bypass security. But seriously? When the stewardess took her request she asked for a Coke and a package of their (really good, by the way) Biscoff chocolate cookies. She obviously wanted to supplement her feast. (The woman also pulled out a bag of homemade trail mix.) I'll admit I felt some jealousy. I wanted that avocado. I was still mad about my confiscated jam.
After we landed and started walking towards the baggage claim the security gates started to come down in our terminal. The flashing security lights were turned on and hundreds of us were stuck on either side of the gates. For a while no one knew what was happening. After a bit, the word spread that there was a LOCKDOWN. Apparently there had been a breech of security and they were chasing down the perpetrator. (Probably another sweet woman with a jar of jam.) Anyway, everyone was texting on their cell phones worried they were missing their flights or their rides home and soon a TV reporter showed up and started interviewing passengers. After an hour the gates lifted and we were allowed to proceed. As I looked over toward the security check area the line was a mile long. My heart went out to them. Next time, I'm bringing an avocado.