So, in my post yesterday, I told you about being stopped because there were supposidly traces of explosive residue on my hands as I entered the airport to head to Las Vegas with The Boss.
However, it’s not the first time this has happened to me.
In late 2005, I was scrapping and fighting for an existence. I ran into troubles (which were created by my own hand) that required me to once again leave school and enter back into the world of full time work. At this time, I was still whoring myself out for low pay because I enjoyed working in television. [slight rant] People that work in television news do not get paid enough. The corporate structures that have increasingly bought up local television stations with the assumption they would be profitable have screwed up an entire industry. [/slight rant]
I reached out to several places with my resume, hoping for even one to bite. I was lucky to get a call from a news director in Savannah, Georgia. They had an opening for a producer for their 11pm newscast. I was happy to fly out to Savannah right away for an interview.
For any job that’s high enough of a level in a television station, they will pay to bring you to them for an interview. That’s what happened with me. I hopped on a regional jet that took me to Dallas. Then I ran through one terminal, rode the tram to another terminal, and ran through that one to get to my 30 minute turnaround of a connecting flight.
I get to Savannah and I believe that the interview is going well. Nothing in particular stood out to me except for the fact the TV station was somewhat of a small building. My last day there, a photographer that was taking a brand new reporter out to get her familiar with where certain things were in town was asked to return me to the airport. Still no problem at all.
I asked the photographer if we could go downtown where I might take a few pictures. I had brought my niece’s stuffed moose with me. It had travelled several places with my parents. They had taken pictures of the moose wherever they have gone. Since I brought the moose with me, I knew I’d get in trouble if there were no pictures of the moose on the trip. So, we went downtown. We went all the way down to the river. At my request, we even crossed the big bridge so I could take a picture of the moose at the South Carolina/Georgia border. This photographer was pretty cool doing this for me.
When I got back in the car after taking that last picture, I looked at the time and remarked that should be just enough time to make it to the airport. The photographer agreed. So we headed off to the airport. Here’s where things get hairy.
There was a traffic jam on the way to the airport I don’t know what caused it. Maybe a cessna had to land on the freeway? Maybe a little old grandma lost her dentures out the window? Who knows. Fact of the matter, my nerves kicked into high gear.
The photographer tried getting off the freeway and taking a couple of side streets.
We finally showed up to the airport. The ticketing agent said I was too late to board. For the record, there was no one in the sercurity line and the flight was still 27 minutes from takeoff. I had no checked luggage. That agent should be working in New York City alongside the TSA agents from the airport near me now.
I ask the ticketing agent, “Are there any other flights left today?”
Fuck. Now the only option left that I knew was to call this news director back and tell him I missed my flight. I thought for sure that I had missed out on the job with that one blunder.
The news director told me that if they couldn’t fix the situation for me at the airport to call him back and he’d make sure I was put up in a hotel one more night. I thought he was wonderfully nice. But I still thought I missed out on the job.
Thank goodness after several minutes and another ticketing agent, a solution was found. One more flight. This one went through Houston. On a different carrier. I’d have to wait another two hours before I left.
“Fine. I’ll take it. Put me on that flight.”
So, this ticketing agent transferred my ticket from American to Delta, printed out my new papers, and sent me on my way. I get to the security line and BAM! I run into another wall.
Apparently when you change airlines at the last minute, that flags you as potential danger. The computer thought I was a f’n terrorist. I don’t fault the TSA guys. They were just following procedures.
They did a quick patdown on me and then pulled out the dreaded PADDED WAND!!! It was run through my luggage and then tested.
Computer: Ding, ding, ding. This potential terrorist has already changed airlines at the last second and now is trying to smuggle explosives in his carry-on so he can BLOW UP THE FUCKING PLANE.
Stupid computer. Here’s your sign.
The TSA agent manually went through everything in my luggage at this point. He found where some of my shower gel had leaked into the bag. Looking at the ingredients list, he said there was something in the soap that can trigger a false positive. The rest of my journey? Uneventful. Boarded my plane. Got home. Called 10 weeks later with a job offer. Left television for good by the middle of 2006.