Not Quite the Mile High Club

Note to self: no matter how dry your skin, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, use lotion until after clearing security at a large airport. Due to my overzealous use of a wonderfully hydrating hand cream,my hands came up as positive for explosives. Why were they checking my hands? Because I made the first mistake of wearing jeans with buttons on the back pockets. And even though said jeans are very form-fitting and I went through the scary irradiating they-can-see-everything x-ray machine, apparently the back buttons look too suspicious.

Let me rewind. After one of the shittiest days of work I’ve had in a very long time, I quickly changed into my jeans (the ones with the butt buttons) and N drove us to the airport. Even though our flight was delayed a good two hours, we had built in enough layover padding into the trip that it didn’t matter. Chicago O’Hare is by far one of the worst airports to fly through. They are rarely on time and routinely slow down planes coming in and going out of the airport with the slightest sniff of imperfect weather–which happens quite a bit in the Midwest.

Lady luck was on our side and we made it to Chicago in time to board our flight to Vegas. I had been looking forward to tagging along with N on his monthly business trip for a while now. Unfortunately, Vegas was having unseasonably cold weather when we got there. That didn’t bum me out though because the next morning I was back at the airport, on my way to Orange County for a whirlwind 24 hours with my little sis. And besides gorging ourselves on an extended shopping trip, we also enjoyed sunny 70 degree perfection. Perfect weather, oh how I missed you!

And if you’ve never had fish tacos in SoCal, I highly recommend eating several when you can. They are that good.

Tasty tacos in SoCal: ahi and salmon. Both yummy but the salmon was the best.

The next morning I went out for a run and didn’t want to come back. I have been so sick for SoCal and it did not disappoint. Our time ended too quickly and before I knew it I was back at the airport, flying to Vegas to meet up with N and his co-workers at the same restaurant where many scenes were filmed for one of my favorite movies:

I love me some mobster movies!

This particular restaurant is very old school and apparently, still plays host to many of the “important” families still alive in Vegas. In the spirit of the mob lifestyle, I started with a decadent glass of champagne. I went with a tasty salad of avocado and hearts of palm for my starter.

I know it's shocking that I ordered the salad with avocado. There are also hearts of palm with an aoili like dressing. They made it look like a palm tree, sort of.

N got a salad as well:

Caprese salad with a pine nut twist.

Dinner was what you’d expect in Vegas: a crap ton of food.

My dinner: a massive piece of swordfish swimming in a mustard sauce with mashed potatoes and baby carrots.

N and I both got specials. The swordfish was grilled and tasted pretty good. N’s short ribs dish, on the other hand, was more so-so.

N's dinner: short ribs with veggies in a horseradish sauce. The bone in was not what he was hoping for.

I was kind of surprised when people ordered dessert as I was too full. I did have a few tastes of N’s dessert:

Creme brulee--a classic.

All in all a fun evening getting to know some of N’s new colleagues. I had a feeling it would be a fun night when the first thing anyone said was, “we want the dirt on N!

The next morning we worked out at the gym then headed to the airport. Back to the story. So my pocket buttons lead me to have my hands checked for chemicals found in bombs and to my horror, the machine started blinking red. They asked if I had used any hand lotion that morning and said of course–it’s dry in the desert! (Duh) That’s when they told me about the glycerin causing the positive reading on their little machine. They also told me that I had “nothing to worry about” but I’d have to point to my belongings (but not touch!) and follow two female TSA workers into a room to get “patted down.” It was early in the morning and this was the last thing I wanted to do ever, much less before boarding a plane.

I looked at N and he looked back at me at which point my chin began to quiver. Yeah, that’s right. I started crying.

I got into the tiny room and one worker put on gloves. She explained that she would be “patting” everywhere and would be using the back of her hands on my “sensitive areas“, including breasts, crotch and butt. She also had to feel under the waist-band of my jeans–I guess who knows what I might be hiding under there! As she was “working,” she looked at the other worker and said something like, “she’s a tiny one.” The other worker looked at me and said to her co-worker, “it must me nice.” I wanted to shout: “I’M RIGHT HERE!!” I don’t do well when people talk about me right in front of me.

The whole experience felt like a violation. The only person I want patting me down is my husband. I get that safety and security is important. I really do. But this seemed and felt to be over the top. The worst part is that there’s no recourse. This kind of extreme safety crap has been going on for too long. I guess it stimulated job growth because they need a ton of workers in order to get all of this patting down done. Here’s hoping that I avoid getting felt up on our next trip.

Two things are for sure though: 1. No jeans with buttons on the butt will be part of my airport attire ever again and 2. No matter how flaky and dry, no lotion to the hands before going through security. Lessons learned the hard way.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Not Quite the Mile High Club

  1. basia

    Wow, that’s insane! I can’t believe that happened to you! I also hate it when people talk about me like I’m not there, and, asides from being molested, that would have really gotten on my nerves. I will learn from your experience and never apply lotion (or wear buttons on my ass) right before going through the security check at the airport. Again, wow.

  2. I know I’m late to the game, but holy hell. I hate the airport hoopla and runaround, but you can bet I would have got arrested if that happened to me. Ugh. This is why I want to be a hermit.

    • It seems like there’s got to be a better way. I had the whole body scan before the pat down, too. What the heck (and where) could I be hiding something? Sheesh! I’m hoping for the return of the railroad personally.

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