For the last five years or so the airports have had a new program to detain me at every possible opportunity. I’ve experienced seemingly every new development in airport security as it comes up. I was among the first to have my cuticle scissors confiscated, remove my shoes to have them carefully searched for hidden wiring, drink from my flask to prove it didn’t contain lighter fluid, have my computer dusted for chemicals, have my bra hand-searched for hidden explosives, remove my underwear for chemical testing, do the required gyrations to shake loose any wiring attached to my person. All that stuff that’s become a standard part of travel in the U.S.
Anyway, I’m happy to do it. I’d rather be delayed for fifteen minutes than face the gradual erosion of our belief in the basic goodness of humankind. Or, you know, death.
A few days ago, we flew through Dallas, where I learned of a new security development. It’s a machine that looks like an elevator compartment with glass doors in the front and back. When you’re one of the select few who gets to step inside, it blasts you with a series of air “puffs.” They’re supposed to blow chemicals off of you to see if you’ve been mucking around with nitroglycerin lately.
These “puffs,” are surprisingly forceful. When you’re not expecting them, it’s a little like being blasted with twelve mini fire hoses. Except, you know, creepier and more invasive.
Anyway, I passed. We’ve been in Argentina for a week or so. I’m on steak number 73.