Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Welcome to "I Am Prepared to Give Up at Any Time", your home for stories about travel gone awry.  I am, apparently, a glutton for punishment.

My coworkers and I sneak off to Reno about twice a year for an evening of blackjack, boozing, and bonding.  Although I could drive to Reno in about four hours, I usually fly because I'm obsessed with saving time.  After all, if time is money, and if flying saves me time, then I can't afford not to fly!  Let's move onto the next paragraph quickly.

We flew out of Oakland yesterday afternoon.  As usual there was a couple of sizable lines at the security checkpoint.  Time obsessed engineers will usually do some quick line analysis before choosing a line.  You try to avoid things like families with small children, really old people, or anyone who looks like a nutcase.  Avoiding the latter can be tricky.  Nutcases can lurk in unlikely places.  I chose one line and my coworker chose another. 
As it turns out, the woman in front of my coworker had packed a Cuisinart into her carry-on bag.  Apparently she had stopped at a kitchen supply store on her way to the airport and selected the largest appliance with whirling blades that she could find that would fit into a carry-on.  Why she deemed this flesh-pureeing device appropriate or necessary for airline travel, we'll never know.  She was, however, a lurking nutcase.

The security guy explained to her that he'd have to check out the Cuisinart to make sure that she wouldn't be able to remove any of the blades in flight.  The woman was taken aback by this request and promptly mocked it.  The good-natured security employee (yes, I really did write that) tried to ignore her jibes, but she continued, "You know, I was watching this comedian on TV last night who was talking about hijacking airplanes...."
At this point the security guard's eyes bugged out of his head and he furiously made the lip-zipping gesture, which apparently is sign language for "What kind of moron are you for talking about hijacking airplanes to a airport security guard, you nutcase?!?!"

Needless to say, my line went much faster than my coworker's.  Coworker: 0.  Me: 1.

So, on our return home today, we were presented with a similar choice in the Reno airport.  My coworker and I carefully examined the two lines at the security checkpoint.  One line featured a man with a metal prosthetic leg.  The other line had two Goth girls with abundant facial piercings.  My coworker went for shorter line with the metal leg.  I went for the piercer's special. 

Unfortunately, I was a bit duped.  Soon after entering this line, I overheard the Goth girls' father say that he had a hip implant, but that it never set off the x-ray machine.  Of course, like clockwork, it set off the x-ray machine.  Expertly, however, the security guards moved this guy to the side to search him more thoroughly.  While he fretted about a cavity search, I waltzed through the x-ray machine and once-again won the line-picking contest. 

Coworker 0:  Me 2. I feel validated.

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