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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Road to the Miami Marathon: Bad4

It’s been a while since I last negotiated airport security. For those like me who have forgotten how fun and exciting it is (psychologists call this defense mechanism “suppression”), here’s a description. It’s a bit like those relay races we used to play in summer camp. You know – you have to put on a whole pile of clothing and then run to the next person, tag them, and take it all off type. Only in reverse. You take off all your clothes, run through a metal detector, and then put it all back on.

You wait on line, like a racer at the starting block. As soon as you pass the gray bins, you grab three. As soon as you reach the table, you plunk them down, and the race begins. You have mere seconds to remove your shoes, jacket, watch, belt, laptop, wallet, keys, and ziplock of liquids, while concurrently moving your bins down the table toward the machine. I completely forgot the liquids, but luckily, they didn’t make a fuss over it. Probably because by the time I passed through the metal detector, I was a ten-second hero.

See, it was because I was moving too hastily. I threw one sneaker into the bin, and reached for the other. To my horror, the sneaker hit the bin and bounced out—onthe other side of the table. It fell to the floor about two feet into the cordoned off area beyond the table.

Now, the table was about two feet thick, and had a shelf-type of level thing running about two feet off the floor. There were no security personnel inside. I gazed at my shoe in despair. My knapsack and carry-on were already entering the machine. The bin with my laptop was approaching fast. But my sneaker!

The people on line watched with a detached interest. The man behind the machine kept looking up, out of curiosity. How was Bad4 going to get her footgear back?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. There were two feet of wiggle room to duck under. I could do that. I did lower in karate class. It wasn’t exactly dignified, but neither was disrobing for a security check. I took a deep breath, dived under the table, grabbed my sneaker, quickly reversed, and emerged victorious, sneaker held aloft.

Cheers from the line.

“Hey, that was athletic!” the security guy enthused.

“I sure hope they wash the floors,” said the businessman behind me.

I plunked the sneaker in my third bin and accepted congratulations all around. Then I was through, we were all dressing again and dispersing to our various gates. I entered the terminal, completely anonymous.

Ah fame. Such a fleeting thing.

~ from the terminal


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