Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 1, Part 1: Stayin' Alive (in the airport)

Good morning! I am writing this from the airport. JetBlue, a seriously awesome airline, provides free wireless in its terminal at Kennedy. The terminal also has Jamba Juice, so I am pretty happy right now.

I was not, however, happy about 20 minutes ago, as I battled my way to the front of the security screening line in what looked like a scene from "300".

I'd heard some horror stories about new screening procedures, between the thwarted Christmas Day underpants attack and the guy who walked through the sterile gate at Newark. So I left my house at 5:00 am for an 8:30 flight. When I arrived at the security line, it was already madness. People who had arrived two hours before their flight were still stuck in the line, and were nearing hysteria. Meanwhile, it looked like nobody was actually getting through the checkpoint. We all stood there for a good ten minutes before somebody came to shuffle up the lines.

Then, it completely degenerated. People will usually stay in lines, if that's the clear expectation. Once they started taking down the ropes, it became a cattle drive, only with really vicious cows.

Miraculously, I was pushed to the front by two very strong and angry men behind me, who were attempting to make their 6:30 flight to Jamaica (it was 6:20 at this point). Once there, the TSA worker demanded that I remove my sweatshirt, and didn't seem to understand that if I did this, I might be arrested for public indecency. Finally a rational person behind the x-ray machine arranged a pat-down for all the sweatshirted people, which we found much preferable to being forced to put on a show for the gazillion people in "line" behind us.

The actual screening looked the same to me, so I can't really explain the insane delay. When my items rolled out the other side of the machine, though, someone else's jacket and belt were in with my shoes. As far as I could tell, the workers were unable to locate the man, who will now be cold and have trouble holding up his pants. The good news is, somebody else will be able to purchase the jacket and belt, along with other stuff, at this place.

One hour until boarding. Time to stock up on Jamba Juice!

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