When you partake in domestic air travel in the US as frequently as I do, it often seems as though not even one day can pass without stumbling into a silly encounter with the TSA.
Today during my mid-afternoon taxpayer-funded exercise in futility, I began the typical routine one expects to complete when partaking in the TSA pre-check program. That is, as I approached and entered the screening area, I left my laptop and liquids in my checked bags, left my shoes and belt on my body where they belong, and waited in line for my property to be x-rayed and my body to be scanned for offensive amounts of metal.
While I waited for the slower-than-molasses conveyor belt to feed my items into the X-ray machine, a particularly friendly-looking TSA goon zeroed in on me at me and asked, “do you have laptops or liquids in your bags?”
To which I responded, “Yes, both.”
She looked at me, puzzled. She followed up, “well sir you have to take those out.”
Such instructions aren’t part of the typical TSA pre-check routine, so I inquired, “has the TSA pre-check program changed?”
She replied, “TSA pre-check is only during certain hours now. We’re currently operating under the Expedited Screening Program. You’ll need to remove your liquids and your laptop from your bag.”
Without thinking much, I replied, “… and this process of suddenly changing the standard process, with zero notice to travelers, having this conversation with me and undoubtedly countless others, and ultimately making me and every other confused soul remove items from our baggage that you’ve painstakingly trained us to routinely leave inside our baggage… this process is called expedited?”
She laughed, looked me straight in the face and said, “that makes zero sense, doesn’t it?”
I enjoyed her honesty and instinctively chuckled. “That’s government for ya,” I said.
She smiled back and gave me a friendly eye-roll that said, “tell me about it.”
I hope someday this kind, understanding soul gets fed up and ditches her employment with the State in favor of the private sector where she might actually contribute to society. One can hope, right?