Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Still Combobulated

I landed at the Milwaukee airport a few hours ago and wondered if there was any chance I'd misread the sign on Sunday. I mean, I've been telling people about this sign and virtually no one believed me. They eventually did because I'm convincing (and in this case, telling the truth), but really, why would they. Who has ever heard of a Recombobulation Area. Heck, I'm surprised the people who make the signs could even spell it. Try typing it three times. Fast or slow. It's nto so easy. But I digress.

The "Recombobulation Area" sign was still there. Evidently the sign was not a figment of my imagination. If was an April Fools joke, no one has figured that out yet. Or maybe they have and figure that after making you walk on the floor in bare feet after hundreds of people before you, you need to laugh to forget how disgusting the floor probably is.

At National Airport in DC they have little booties you can put on. Of course you can't get to them until after you've already put all of your things, including shoes, into the metal detector. But if you want booties for later (I hear they are all the rage among teens today), or for walking through the metal detector, or from the metal detector to the area that in Milwaukee is evidently known as the Recombobulation Area, you can have booties.

And once again, there are people who seem surprised that they have to take off their shoes. Have they not read the news for the past five years. Shoes can be dangerous. They can be thrown. A really spiky stilleto or a heavy work boot can be pretty dangerous (not to mention painful if you're on the receiving end). I'm not sure how the metal detectors prevent someone from hurling their shoe but I'm sure the good folks at TSA know more than I do about this.

These same people seem surprised to learn that they can't take a water bottle through, and that they need to keep their boarding pass with them. There are announcements all the time. And signs. I would think that if they are as unfamiliar with the process as they seem to be, that they would be paying attention to these things. Evidently, I would be wrong.

There was a woman in front of me in line who had two small bags, two jackets and a Virginia Road Atlas. Seeing as she was going through security and about to get on a plane, I'm not sure why she didn't pack the atlas in the bag she must have checked, but maybe she's really attached to her atlas. Anyway, when she got to the first TSA person who checks your ID and boarding pass, she had to put everything down and find her ID. And then find her boarding pass. I'm pretty sure this is the same woman who doesn't think about deciding how she's going to pay for her groceries until the cashier totals her purchases.

But I digress. So she puts everything on the floor and roots through her bags for her boarding pass and ID. The security person looks at them closely, and when she hands them back, the woman bends down four separate times to pick up the bags, the jackets and road atlas. None of them were particularly large and I'm not sure what purpose standing up straight between bobs for her next item served. But again, this is a woman carrying a road atlas onto a flight.

The same thing happens when she puts all of her things down to take off her shoes. And yes, she did seem surprised that this was happening. I was not amused. And it happened again when everything came off the line. I was even less amused. THIS is why we need special lanes for security. She was risking serious harm to herself by those of us immediately behind her. Certainly someone had heavy shoes that could have easily been dropped onto her head while she was bobbing for jackets.

In the end, I think the Recombobulation Areas should have couches, lavender incense and maybe some New Age music to calm us down after being behind these people in line. That would give true meaning to recombobulation.... don't you think?!

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