>The fascinating thing about terrorist plots to blow up airplanes is that even when they fail, they also sort of succeed. Granted, I would never, ever equate the deaths of hundreds of people with the disruption of travel, the generation of more fear, and more airport dysfunction than usual, but by creating this type of environment, it is true that a foiled plot does accomplish a tiny bit of what the terrorists aim to do. It is almost like they are in a win-win situation, and the rest of civilization can only stand by helplessly as our lives our disrupted in ways both large and small.
Anyway, all this comes up because I am visiting my sister in Iowa this weekend and thus was going to the airport this morning. When I heard the news, I was glad that tragedies were averted, but extremely annoyed at the fucks who planned such tragedies. They may have failed to do firsthand mass murder, but I knew that the situation at LaGuardia might lead to someone going ballistic and people getting hurt anyway.
I left for the airport early in anticipation of long lines at security. Several TSA workers got on the bus and began talking about how they got calls this morning begging them to come in on their day off. On one hand, I was glad that they were calling in staff to handle what I assumed would be a madhouse; on the other hand, it confirmed my fear that there was a madhouse to deal with.
Upon arrival, I checked and rechecked the gate number, and just tot be safe, re-verified it by calling the airline automated hotline while I waited in what turned out to be a 50 minute wait to go through security. People were for the most part calm, and I was impressed by how organized the staff were at LaGuardia. They came down the line several times with trash receptacles while I waited and reminded people that no liquids were allowed. Finally, I made it through and headed to my gate, only to learn that it had been switched and that I would have to leave the “sterile area” (yes, that is what they call it once you pass security these days) and go through another fucking security check. Fortunately, the other gate area had no line, so I got through in minutes. I did find it interesting that in my first pass through security, they were careful to be sure that the labels on my inhalers matched my ID. In the second security line, no one even looked at them, but they went through my suitcase. (I should have taken a picture of that for Theo is America’s Next Top Model because he traveled in my bag, was slightly manhandled, but threw no temper tantrums about it. He was very restrained for a model, as usual.)
The other effect of the thankfully foiled terrorist plot is that no liquids can be brought on board. Most importantly in my case, thus means no hand sanitizer. As reported in several studies, the water in airplane bathroom sinks is recycled water. Hence it is filled with bacteria, and I never use it to wash my hands after taking advantage of the smelly and cramped lavatory on the plane. Usually I just douse myself with hand sanitizer after I’m done with my business, but this is not an option today. While relieving my bladder, I tried my best not to touch anything or somehow get pee on my hand. (A longer consequence of this liquid ban, if it sticks, will be my need for nasal spray as a result of the dryness of a long flight. That will really be a problem, as opposed to, you know, being a bacterial menace to the world.)
My final thought about my air travel thus far today also involves the lav, as it so often does. I was fortunate enough to be upgraded to first class (really business class since it is a small plane, but shit, I’ll take it!). When I got into the tiny, reeking bathroom, I started cracking up. E.I. Pergola of Luta, FL thoughtfully left a copy of Town & Country magazine on the space next to the toilet for the enjoyment of their fellow society members. It almost makes all the little inconvenience I went through this morning totally worth it.