Monday, September 26, 2011

Just returned from Arizona

... where we visited with our daughter and attended "parent's weekend" at U of Az.  Had a great weekend but did not enjoy our visit with TSA this time.  If any time, ever...

Usually when Rick arrives at the airport, we throw him into a wheelchair (the walk to the plane can be long and difficult on his legs) and head to security.  Usually security sees us and ushers us to the front of the long line and we go right through the security gate and then on to our plane.  Not so this time.

The TSA folks in Dallas had NO INTENTION of letting Rick go to the head of the line.  But I'm spoiled and feel entitled... and kept glaring at the TSA line monitor.  Note to everyone... not a good idea to GLARE at any TSA line monitor.

We had to stand in the long line (well I stood, he sat) and then I had to maneuver his chair through all of the turns and tangles to get to the checkpoint.  The chair would not fit through most of them.  The TSA folks didn't care.  They just watched me huff and puff.

Rick was taken from me at this point (as is customary) and I was left to place all of his paraphernalia up onto the belts as well as my own.  Shoes went up - his and mine.  My bag, my computer, my purse... my jacket.  Up went his air purifier, belt, sunglasses, visor.  Up went his jacket, his back pack.  Up went his cane.  Up went his wallet, his keys, the change in his pockets. 

Then... I was summoned to bring his cane to him.  But I couldn't.  They then asked for his shoes. 

Uh... could ya' wait a minute here?

I then hurried through the scanner and although I didn't set the alarms off, I did get another thrill.  The TSA scan monitor was busy going through my purse. 

"Ma'am, you can't have this."  It was a tube of hair creme that I was taking to Elizabeth.  An expensive tube of hair creme that she needed for her damaged hair.  "What do you want to do with it?"  Well, I wanted to keep it ... duh.

"What are my options?"

"You can take this to your car; you can mail it to yourself or I can throw it away."

"Mail it to myself?"

"Yes, for $200, you can step into that room over there and mail it home to your self."  Well, that made no sense.  The tube of hair creme wasn't even worth $200.  "If you'd rather, you can take it to your car."  That was dumb, too ... it wouldn't get to Elizabeth then.  I kept thinking and thinking when the TSA gal suddenly said, "Did you drive here?  Is your car here?"

Well, yes it was... but darned if I knew where right at that moment.  "Would I have to wait in that long line to get back in?"

"Yes, ma'am, you would."  Jeesh, I wouldn't even get to move to the head of the line.  I would receive no credit for having already navigated through that line once.  I called to Rick to ask him what time our flight boarded and what time it was now. 

"We board at 6:45.  It's 6:35 now."  So, hoofing it to my car would not work.  I then decided to leave the hair creme behind.  And it made me sad.  Very, very sad.  And I cried.  And Rick laughed.  Good ol' Rick.  He can always make you feel better.  By the way, don't let the TSA gals' 'Yes ma'ams' fool you.  She was not polite in any way, shape or form.  She was ALL BUSINESS.

And then I proceeded over to where Rick was and now found him close to being strip searched.  Once the 'male assist' person was done, he advised me to redress him.  So I squatted down and re-shoed him.  Got his belt on him; loaded him up with his wallet, cap, air purifier, keys...  and then 're-packed' myself.  I did all that through the tears that I seemed to not be able to control.  Don't know why.  It was just a hair creme.  But I still felt violated.

And when I turned to pick up my computer, I then noticed a different TSA lady watching me.  No, STARING at me.  She was darn near throwing knives at me with those eyes.  But I plowed through all of my Rick tasks.  And when we were ready to leave that security area, I dried my tears (and made sure that the glaring lady saw me) and pushed Rick out of that place.  Glaring TSA lady decided to talk to me then.

"Do you know where your gate is?"  For a brief moment I thought she was going to be sympathetic to my life.

"No, not really."

"There's a gate directory down at gate 12."

And since gate 12 was about a mile in the opposite direction of where we were headed, I thanked her and went the opposite way.  Do not be fooled by her supposed niceness.  I think she was trying to get us out of there.  There were no niceties in her voice.  And she clearly did not care that I was clearly upset.  I grabbed Rick and walked the other way.

And I left my coat behind.  And I have been sad for the entire weekend about my coat.  But my sadness is comforted by the fact that I did get to keep my liquid bottle of Ben Gay... and... my scissors.  Yep.  TSA cared more about a hair creme.

So... all that just to tell you that I had a great weekend visiting my daughter.  And I'm looking forward to our next visit... in November... by car.

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