The drive from East Greenbush, New York to the airport was perfect. The sun was shining, two of the three children were asleep in the backseat, and there was very little traffic.
As we got closer to Manhattan traffic became thick, and for the first time I got to experience driving bumper to bumper between taxis, car service sedans and aggressive New York drivers. It was intense. Something like Autopia, but with people’s lives at stake.
By the time we got to the airport I was a little revved up from driving for three hours, dealing with returning the rental car (which required an acid bath after 10 days of Weinberg children activity), and getting all five of us to the security line.
After the initial TSA agent looked at our tickets and driver’s licenses, we were given the green light to move into the lines for security. People around us were taking off belts, shoes, pagers, etc. My mind started racing as we got closer to the front of the line where the bins and x-ray machines were looming.
Okay, we’ve got to get all the shoes off of the kids, and jackets, fold up the stroller at just the right time so the two year old doesn’t have time to escape, oh crap I’ve got to pee but that will just have to wait, I’ve got to remind P to take off his belt this time…
I think that was the moment when my 8 year old daughter whispered in her LOUD whisper voice, “WHY CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT BOMBS IN THE AIRPORT?!”
As I was trying to explain that you can’t even talk about not talking about bombs in the airport I noticed my 7 year old son death gripping his penis and hopping foot to foot. Crap, we can’t get out of line for urination right now. Just please, lordy, please let him hold it just this once. Then the 2 year old started yelling, “UPPOOOOO” which means get me out of this stroller or there will be hell to pay.
I took the militaristic approach and ordered the kids to strip down and just started throwing everything into those little plastic bins. Strangers behind us were smiling uncomfortably as we held up the line and my daughter jumped around chanting, “I HATE SECURITY! I HATE SECURITY!” Tell me about it, sister. Pass the Valium.
The kids and I made it through security when I noticed that P had been sent back in line because he’d forgotten to take his sweatshirt off. As he walked toward us I heard a large, angry TSA agent yelling, “THERE ARE A PAIR OF SHOES ON THE GROUND!!! WHO LEFT A PAIR OF SHOES ON THE GROUND?”
I looked at P. P looked at me. He didn’t have his shoes “on his person.”
As P made his way back to retrieve his shoes the TSA agent started to very loudly belittle him a la, “Who would forget their shoes? How could you forget your shoes?! Who would forget their shoes?” (The tone of his voice implied: You are a fucking idiot.)
My blood started to boil. I jumped up and approached the agent. “Look,” I snarled (nicely), “people make mistakes. You don’t need to treat him like he’s an asshole for forgetting his shoes. We are trying to manage an entire family, ok?”
Well, the TSA agent didn’t like having someone talk back to him. He had some choice words for me which I returned in kind. I think I finished things off by saying, “Oh, yes I can see you’re a big, big man handling this with such professionalism.” Me = Idiot.
Apparently the agent found P going through security for a third time and gave him a piece of mind about how P needs to put his crazy wife in her place. Poor P.
I admit, I should’ve just kept my mouth closed. I know the guy was just doing his job. (I guess sneakers can blow up?) However, I don’t believe that people should be treated like criminals while traveling. I don’t believe that the TSA agents get to be assholes just because they have been put in a position of power.
Safety is good and necessary. But respect? Respect is just as important. “I am not an animal!”