Traveling by Air

I’m supposed to fly down to Utah this morning on one of the early flights.   now that i don’t live in downtown bellevue i can’t rely on theexpress airport bus to get me to the airport for free.  instead i had to call an airport shuttle and pay $40.  Because of the increased security, I was told to be ready by 3:45 this am.  wow!  i’d already had 2 days of early  morning and late nights this week and was ready for some real sleep when i realized this meant i would have to crash immediately after spanish class.  i would skip spanish, but i only have 3 classes left and i’ve already missed 3 classes in total.  anyway, i still had to eat and pack so i didn’t crash until around 10, which was pretty late considering I’d need to be up around 2:45 at the latest.  Shuttle driver told me lines at the airport stretched out across the skybridge and into the garage.  Ugh, I was not looking forward to that.
So, I get in the terminal and lines are really long, but not unmanageable as I’d imaginged ti might have been the day before.   turns out for me, in the end, getting checked in and through security was a breeze.  i mistakenly tried to check in via Alaska Airlines only to find out the flight I am on is operated by Delta so I wasted 20 or so minutes in the Alaska Airlines check-in line (forgot to check in ahead of time).  I went to the Delta counters thinking I’d have to wait in one of the heinous lines I was seeing for other Airlines like United, American, etc.  Fortunately, many of the kiosks were free and I went straight up to one and checked-in.  I got my boarding pass and not 2 minutes later an attendante was calling my name for my bag, which up until yesterday had been meant as carry on.  (The new restrictions don’t allow  liquids, gels or creams so I was pretty much guaranteed a checked in bag with that restriction.)
After checking in, i headed to the security lines to check out the wait.  The line closest to my gate was actually quite ok.  I walked further down the terminal in search of a Starbuck’s, which at this point was desperately needed.  I figured I could drink it until i had to give it up before going through the security check points.   Ah, a lovely short soy latte with vanilla syrup. just what i needed.  i took my time getting back to the security lines and enjoyed my latte.  it was, afterall, barely after 5am by this point and my flight was about 2.5 hours from then.  I stood in line and actually progressed quite rapidly given that I anticipated being able to finish my latte before ever getting to the screening area. 
when i was about to head to the screening area, I expected to see a trash bin or table for all beverages, etc. that peolple were purging, but nothing was there.  i had seen these at other checkpoints so i wondered if my coffee would make it through securty anyway.  i took off my jacket, shoes, placed my laptop in the bin and went through the xray with no problem.  i didn’t even get flagged to have myself searched, which many people were going through.  my laptop and jacket and shoes did not make it through the screening quickly so i stood there for some time, sipping my coffee and waiting patiently.  Then, out of nowhere I hear a guy panick and snatch the coffee from my inquiring all the while ‘how did this coffee make it shrough security?’  it’s early, it’s probably already been a long day for this guy and it’s about to get longer so i don’t fuss over it. i did, afterall, not expect to have made it through with it anyway.  still, having the coffee was a warm comfort to the situation at hand and the action of taking it away somehow stung me. The lady at the scanner looked confusedly at the coffee asking other questions about whether the coffee had been scanned.  were they going to let me take the coffee with me afterall?   the gentleman still holding the cup looked at the xray man and perturbed  at the throught of this little cup of coffee making it past all of their increased security measures, finally disposed of it in a bin.  
strange that even though i knew i shouldn’t have had the cup through the screening and maybe because no one caught it or there wasn’t an obvious disposal  to ‘ do the right thing,’  i somehow felt shamed and a bit violated at the same time.  this little incident heightened my awareness more than the inconvience of sleep or long lines that these penalties we pay for the hate  crime potential  will forever change the world we live in and the freedome we have come to know and enjoy.  I wish there was a way to create appreciation for what we have in this world, globally. Right now, the world is in a no-win situation because these people who want to hurt us have no compassion or understanding the world as a whole.  not unlike that bubble i live in and wrote about earlier, it’s hard to look beyond your own backyard and even harder to look within and see that  at the core and as a race we are all the same.

About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete and computer software/technology enthusiast.
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