Damn terrorists. As if it weren’t bad enough that they go around killing innocent people, they have also managed to take away the dignity and comfort of the living. If you fly anywhere, you know what I’m talking about.
Last December, I took a flight from Miami to San Francisco. I arrived 2.5 hours early at the airport but the crowds were big and TSA was in top form. Only two of four porno airport scanners were working creating a huge backlog. As we waited, like cattle, to be treated like criminals, a TSA representative yelled that no one would be moved up the line, as it wasn’t his fault if we were late to our plane, and that we should have arrived at the airport earlier (maybe he expected passengers to camp out the night before).
Of course, it was later proven that the huge delay was indeed his fault since, after shutting down the porno scanners and making the passengers go through the old-fashioned ones, the line started moving faster. When I finally made it to the plane after having run as if Jack the Ripper were after me, I was shaking not only from nerves but from the stress of not having been able to punch an idiot who totally deserved it.
But as angry as I felt, I realized that terrorists are ultimately the reason for the indignity that we suffer every time we go through a security checkpoint at an airport. This is true whether it’s a “normal” pass-thru where you have to take off your belt, coat, shoes, and place half of your carry-on belongings in a prison-gray bin, often showing your feet (pedicured or not) and your hardware preference (Apple or not) to total strangers who don’t even know your name; or, whether it’s the real humiliation that too many passengers have experienced through the insensitive treatment of an overzealous TSA officer.
Yet, while the dreaded security check takes away our dignity, the limitations on what we can place in our carry-ons take away our comfort (and our money). We can only carry liquids in our checked-in luggage, making our suitcase heavier, and since there is a weight limit, we need to check in a second suitcase (for which, of course, we will be charged). What am I saying? These days airlines are even charging for one suitcase on domestic flights.
Although the threat of terrorism affects all travelers, it has been especially detrimental to women. If I were able to take all my toiletries in my carry-on, I could shave off at least 5 pounds from my checked-in luggage. You don’t believe me? Let’s start with hair products: shampoo, conditioner, detangler, leave-in conditioner, gel, and hair spray. Then, bath items: shower gel, intimate wash, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream. On to cosmetics: moisturizer, foundation, make-up remover lotion, face tonic, eye-make up remover gel, night cream and eye-contour cream; and if traveling to a hot climate, all the sun products: Body tanning lotion, SPF 50 face cream, SPF 50 hair gel, After-Sun Lotion. See what I mean?
However, what I consider the most unfortunate fallout of the carry-on limitations is the death of the train case. If we were allowed to carry our toiletries with us, perhaps the fashion world, with its knack for recycling trends, would bring back the train case. Remember those? A woman’s treasure chest with inside pockets and a mirror filled with such necessary stuff that even the French, not known for their pragmatism, had the good sense of calling it the “nécessaire.”
Now, I know that I could buy small plastic containers, fill them up and place them in a clear plastic bag to carry with me (nécessaire or not), but given the number of products that I’m talking about, it would be a very time-consuming exercise. Frankly, I can think of better things to do with my time like, for example, write this post about the terrorists who have come to mess up our lives in more ways than one. Damn them.