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Come Fly The Unfriendly Skies


Operating on about 3 hours of sleep combined, my husband of 40 hours sat across from me shoe-less, his shirt up around his pasty nipples while another man rubbed him up and down. While an awkward woman rubbed my butt and patted down my vagina, our eyes met. Without attracting any more attention, I mouthed “I’m sorry.” His eyes smiled right before the man grazed his balls with his elbow. Then he wasn’t smiling anymore.

It was all my fault. Honestly.

Later, he expressed, several screwdrivers to the wind, that this was his first experience with being singled out and searched by airport security.

Mouth full of egg and cheese biscuit and several screwdrivers drunk myself, I slurred, “Well, dude, at least they didn’t take you to that back room.” I took a long drag off my drink, “Because that shit is WHACK.” I paused. “And hey, the let me keep one of my lighters.”

The Daver looked less than pleased.

“I’m sorry,” I said, chastised. “It’s all my fault.”

But was it? Was the issue with having a face (presumably) like a terrorist my fault? Certainly I’d been stopped by customs and security more times than I could possibly count, singled out from a crowd each and every time I flew since I was a small child. My father and brother, who turn equally brown skinned in the sun, get it also, but not as bad as I do.

I can’t put a toe into an airport without securing a nice frisking and potential strip-search.

While I can easily claim that I *am* an asshole, the moment I hit the airport, I turn into the mentally challenged sister from Hee-Haw. I’m all “Golly Gee,” this and “Jeepers, Mister,” that with a side of “Gee wilikers” thrown in for good measure. You’ll never see a more ridiculously PC, G-rated version of me.

And still. And yet. And how.

I’ve learned to show up to the airport extra EXTRA early. I’ve learned that flip-flops–even in the dead of winter in Chicago–are the footwear of champions, and I know to wear loose baggy pants for easy up and down access.

But this begs the question. Why me? Was I marked as a potential terrorist when I was a baby? Is this on my ever-fucking Permanent Record?

I’m going to California on Friday at the ass-crack of dawn and I’m certain that on each leg of the trip, I will be searched up and down, and God forbid I pack the wrong toothpaste or something, because I am hoping to catch each connecting flight.

(What the hell can’t I pack anymore anyway?)

(also, LA, here I come!)

And if I do end up in the clink, let it be the California clink, where not only can I make Heather bail me out, I’m sure my cell-mates will look like models. Maybe they’ll make out with me.

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43 Comments to

“Come Fly The Unfriendly Skies”

  1. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:33 am RJ Flamingo Says:

    I gave up air travel last year, when TSA mistook the suitcase containing boardgames & cell phone chargers for what? A bomb? and busted up the suitcase irreparably and cut up all the linings. Then they wrapped the whole thing up in 2 rolls of their special TSA tape. Hubs’ reaction when it appeared in Miami? “See? I told you that you overpacked that one!!!”. “Honey, that’s fucking TSA tape!” “Well, that was all they had around to put it back together!” Idiot.

  2. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:56 am Ms. Moon Says:

    I keep saying- the terrorists have already damn won. When you have to take sandals off that have soles one-eighth of an inch thick and you can’t pack a regular bottle of shampoo in your carry-on, and you do it with all the yes-sirs and yes-ma’ams and if you complain you can be expected to find yourself on the intimate side of a rubber glove, the terrorists have won. Or at least they’re laughing their asses off at us.
    That’s just my thought on the matter.

  3. On June 15th, 2009 at 10:58 am Lindsay Says:

    I went through this period where I got the super scrutiny treatment 7 airport trips in a row. I was like, WTF? Maybe I’m super threatening looking. GROWL.

  4. On June 15th, 2009 at 12:03 pm Says:

    omg you need a spew warning on this.
    you and your poor husband , i got stopped for the first time the last time i traveled but all they did was make me take off my shoes and belt and run a scanner over me 2 and pat me down. no strip search .

  5. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:12 am katy Says:

    Ha! I just put a blog up about traveling with instruments on my symphony blog last week. I always have a rough time flying because I have a carbon fiber bow which apparently looks a lot like a sword when it goes through the x-ray machine. That and having to explain what a viola is to everybody and their brother has made me give up air travel. I’d rather walk. Good luck! I hope it’s an easy time for once!

  6. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:22 am Cute~Ella Says:

    My brother gets the same thing! Only he doesn’t tan at all. We’re pasty white with blond hair and he has freckles. It’s pretty funny. Now that he’s an Army pilot it makes it even funnier.

  7. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:23 am Amy declouet Says:

    Good luck at the airport. Please bring lots of love and hugs to heather and mike.

  8. On June 15th, 2009 at 12:23 pm Kristina Says:

    Freakin’ airport security. I’m always scared they’re going to find a bomb in my bag, even when I KNOW there isn’t one in there.

  9. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:26 am The Expatresse Says:

    Oh, I LUV you! I laughed so hard, I snorted my wine through my noise.

    We’re expats, so we get on planes now and then. The US of A is the worst, I tell you.

    Of course, Yours Truly is always buying liquor in Duty Free and then forgetting to put it in her suitcases when she exits the Schengen Zone or transfers in the US. And then she gets her Russki Standart taken away.

    In fairness, once I pleaded ignorance, and US security let me keep the million tiny bottles of perfume I bought on the plane . . .

  10. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:38 am Mrs Soup Says:

    I think it must be that you are just so hawt that everyone wants to pat you down. πŸ˜€

    I always get nervous going through, cuz I don’t want to be singled out. Once, I even let out a huge *whoo* after passing through. While still in the area. My husband rolled his eyes at me and goes “Maybe you should wait to “celebrate” until after we get out of the way. Before they think you passed a gun through the archway.”

  11. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:41 am Danielle Says:

    Sounds like you’re ready to go! Admit it, you enjoy being frisked ;o) Enjoy your flight and have a BLAST!

  12. On June 15th, 2009 at 11:49 am Nate Says:

    My worst flying experience was on a flight from Boise to Chicago. This was post 9/11 but before the shoe bomber, so fluids & what not were still allowed in carry-on luggage. I had 3 fifths of vodka in my carry-on. Going through security, I forgot to take my cell phone out of my pocket and thus set off the metal detector. So, I got wanded. Big deal… Then, my flight starts boarding and I’m “randomly” selected to have my bags ripped apart and have an opportunity to become a lot more personal with a random dude than I ever care to. The catch – the guy at the gate that snapped on the gloves was the very same guy that wanded me at security. THAT is what pissed me off…

    For what it’s worth, I hear the best way to get the searches to end quickly is to enjoy it as thoroughly as possible.

  13. On June 15th, 2009 at 1:41 pm Badass Geek Says:

    If you do end up in jail and make out with some model-chick, please take a video of it, or at least snap a few pictures.

    I’ll pay you.

  14. On June 15th, 2009 at 1:15 pm Ginger Magnolia Says:

    Oh my gosh and golly, I’ve never been singled out, thank goodness. I guess I haven’t travelled THAT much, though, and never overseas (except to Hawaii). I think it’s because I have the face of a wee angel. Or something like that…

  15. On June 15th, 2009 at 2:18 pm Susan Says:

    You just gave me a great idea. I haven’t been laid in forever so I’m going now to buy an airline ticket to anywhere just so I can get felt up. “And a side of gee willikers”! Hysterical!!!

  16. On June 15th, 2009 at 2:35 pm kalakly Says:

    have bail $, will come if called:)

  17. On June 15th, 2009 at 2:59 pm Kendra Says:

    It’s funny, I still get carded for liquor (I’m 33) and would lose my shirt in any game of poker, because I simply always look like I’m lying. And yet something (probably my lack shortness and pale skin) seem to make me look like the least intimidating person in the world. This means that the Mormons showed up at my house once a week or so when I was in college, and I think I may have signed up for some kind of “money-saving offer” I didn’t really understand from the phone company. But I’ve never once been stopped in an airport. Now, I’ve only flown a handful of times since September 11, and I think I had small children with me each time, which probably makes me look even less dangerous. But I guess there’s an up side to looking like anyone at all could take me and win!

  18. On June 15th, 2009 at 3:01 pm Michael Says:

    Genuinely creative, funny stuff, Becky. Glad I found you.

  19. On June 15th, 2009 at 4:27 pm Hope Says:

    Being patted down by the TSA is the only action I get these days. If I was a lesbian, it would be wonderful. Hmmmmm….I wonder if I could say I was a lesbian the next time some TSA bitch wants to feel my boobs, and ask if she would hand me over to a male TSA dude. Then, I could get a man to feel my boobs without having to spend an hour and a half eating dinner with him and listening to his boring life story first…

  20. On June 15th, 2009 at 4:35 pm Betts Says:

    Maybe you should just try to enjoy it. I’m going to FB you with what my husband goes through when he flies.

  21. On June 15th, 2009 at 5:51 pm birdpress Says:

    I was never afraid of flying until I read this post. Thanks a lot, Aunt Becky!

  22. On June 15th, 2009 at 6:18 pm Mimi Says:

    You know what’s funny about this? I actually AM an Arab. For serious. My maiden name screams “Allah is Great” like nobody’s business. My husband, who is as cracker white as they come, has to put up with being “randomly” selected for frisking every time we fly. People will absolutely NOT get on a plane if my brother is getting on. So Becks, I feel your pain – and then some. I just show up early and start stripping before I even get my ticket.

  23. On June 15th, 2009 at 6:35 pm swirl girl Says:

    uh- go naked…like the lady on those Blufly dot com commercials.

    I think all those years of people walking through those metal detectors has sucked the living brain stem right out them. The smartest people in the world become complete imbiciles upon passing through the portal of shitty that is the airport.

    you comin’ here?? when??why??who??huh??

  24. On June 15th, 2009 at 6:53 pm DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom Says:

    Full body cavity check, huh? Listen, I’ve never so much as been looked at sideways. I guess all you need is pasty, blinding whiteness, freckles and red hair. You know, rockin a look kinda like a middle-aged Wendy’s girl. The trade off for this of course is NEVER going in the sun because it makes your skin shine like diamonds and living in rainy, depressing places like Seattle and always wearing sunglasses. Oh wait, that’s not me, that’s Edward Cullen. I go t confused.

  25. On June 15th, 2009 at 8:50 pm mountainmomma18 Says:

    Dude my husband stand 6’5 and is built like a linebacker so he is always taken aside for extra security even though he the most wholesome looking guy you could find. Our last trip he carried the baby in her sling thinking they may let him go, nope they handed her to me!

  26. On June 15th, 2009 at 9:19 pm Denise Says:

    I about coughed up a lung laughing so hard at this post. Just what I needed tonight.

  27. On June 15th, 2009 at 10:43 pm Sandy Says:

    Oh, God, I hate security. I always feel like I committed a crime, don’t remember it, and am about to be hauled off to prison for ten years like Midnight Express. Flip-flops are the BEST, and ideal for emergency water landings πŸ™‚

  28. On June 15th, 2009 at 10:45 pm kate Says:


    what was the rest of that story?

  29. On June 16th, 2009 at 6:28 am mumma boo Says:

    Um, thanks for the travel tips. I will be driving everywhere from now on. Have a safe trip!

  30. On June 16th, 2009 at 7:47 am kbrients Says:

    How crazy… I have to say that I have never been searched or even looked at twice…

    Damn… I am not even carded at the casino anymore and it makes me sad πŸ™

  31. On June 16th, 2009 at 9:40 am zelzee Says:

    My sister always gets searched. We thought it was because of the dark hair and dark complexion (I am redhead and light), so we asked the officer why always her.

    He told her they have to search periodically, so they look for LSF.
    she asked what that was……….and he said “low shit factor. Someone that won’t give us any trouble.”

    So obviously, Aunt Becky, you look all sweet and innocent!

  32. On June 16th, 2009 at 10:21 am deb Says:

    “I canÒ€ℒt put a toe into an airport without securing a nice frisking and potential strip-search”

    I may need to go to the airport with you. I love a good strip search in the morning.

    My youngest, now 21, is the one in our clan that looks to be the mastermind behind all things terroristic. He always gets pulled aside. Even when he was like 10. I guess they make em young nowadays.

  33. On June 16th, 2009 at 10:38 am Coco Says:

    I think everyone just wants to frisk you.

    I do.

    Have fun in Cali, Becks. Too bad you can’t make a side trip to Vegas, but I think Heather needs you tons more than I do. And that’s saying something.

  34. On June 16th, 2009 at 10:55 am Kristine Says:

    I’ve never been searched – Thank God, but this post makes me re-think any plans I had to fly any time soon.

  35. On June 16th, 2009 at 1:43 pm Eva Says:

    My husband always sets of the detector, no matter what he doesn’t wear, and then he has to go through various things. Poor babies.

    I, uh, had my checked luggage searched once. I think they stole my watch!

  36. On June 16th, 2009 at 2:36 pm Betty M Says:

    I’m the same. Ever since i was about 15. It is very annoying. Plus I dont see how they cold know that half of me is from a bit of the axis of evil. My name and passport dont give it away.

  37. On June 16th, 2009 at 3:03 pm Rob Says:

    Oh, my, people won’t event stand near me during airport security. It’s only a matter of time before I get the rubber glove treatment. I’ve actually recited portions of the Bill of Rights in line.

  38. On June 16th, 2009 at 8:22 pm Westcoast Weirdo Says:

    My suitcase always gets checked. I get the fucking little note inside. The last time I had a pile of dirty thongs on top. ‘Tis the only time I wish I had an STD.

  39. On June 17th, 2009 at 4:52 am SciFi Dad Says:

    I have nothing to base this on other than speculation, but it’s probably a self-perpetuating thing: your name comes up, they see that everyone has thought you were a little off and searched you, so they do the same thing.

    It all started with one twitchy bastard.

  40. On June 18th, 2009 at 3:33 am 'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why Says:

    See, this is why I never fly. I’ve been told by my loving husband that I look like a Chechnyan terrorist. Something about being 1/4 eastern European. I don’t know. And the wand thing? I can’t even get into a club without it going off. I’m 1/92nd titanium too…

  41. On June 18th, 2009 at 9:16 pm Jenn Says:

    I could BE a terrorist and I’d still never get recognized as one. I’m so pasty white it’s ridiculous.

  42. On August 3rd, 2009 at 9:31 am Mommy Wants Vodka » Blog Archive » Only Slightly Better Than A Holiday In Cambodia Says:

    […] Poor The Daver had been used to flying under the radar until he began traveling with his new wife: A TSA Magnet since 1980. Deemed safe for travel, we pulled up our pants, tried to put our dignity back on our shoulders and […]

  43. On August 4th, 2009 at 1:28 am Teri Says:

    Hah, nice going.
    Well, I can’t actually say much as I barely fly *pout* but New Zealand seems to have really lax security.

    My mother’s a frequent flier for her work, Koru Gold (Koru Club is NZ’s airclub thing…) and all so she gets really lax security.

    One time she was flying about half a week after my Pony Club camp. She had a STEAK KNIFE (and our steak knifes are actually pretty damn sharp) in her handbag (she had been using it to open feed bags at camp) and the people who work at Auckland International didn’t even notice! It was only pulled up on the return flight home from Sydney.

    And even still, despite the fact that she’s been found flying with a steak knife, she doesn’t get pulled out.

    Maybe there’s benefits to not tanning and being blonde and blue eyed. Because pasty businesswomen aren’t going to be terrorists at all..

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