Bin There, Done That

March 21, 2010

Maybe other people have this problem. I can’t be the only one. But every time I go to the airport, the number of gray plastic bins that I have to push through the security checkpoint is borderline ridiculous.

Let’s do a little exercise, called “How Many Bins Does it Take To Get Through Security.”

Bin #1: jacket, shoes
Bin #2: purse, cell phone, belt
Bin #3: plastic bag of liquids, whatever item of permissible food-stuffs that I am carrying
Bin #4: laptop

And then, of course, there are the non-bin items, such as my laptop case and carry-on suitcase.

I have, on occasion, been known to utilize up to 5 bins, plus the two bags that I’m pushing through the conveyor belt. On more then one occasion, I’ve had so many bins that after I’ve gathered my belongings on the other side and walked away, I’ll have someone call me back because I have forgotten a whole bin of items.

I’ve tried to help the process, I really have. For example, I have my special “airport belt.”

What is an airport belt you ask? An airport belt is when I know I’m going to show up very early for my flight, so I wear a belt that, if it fails the metal detector, I will have time for the “personalized” screening. In this way, I can find out for future flights whether or not I will be required to take off the belt at the checkpoint.

Once I find a belt that successfully passes the metal detector, it then becomes the belt I wear to the airport, hence the obvious nickname.  I am unreasonably proud of my airport belts. Usually it is a fun time at the security checkpoint. This is how it used to go:

TSA Personnel: Miss, you’ll need to remove that belt.
Me: Oh, it’s okay, I’ve worn this before. It won’t set off the machine.
TSA: Whatever, it’s no skin off my back if you have to have special screening.

And I walk through the machine and their eyes widen in amazement. They congratulate me on successfully passing the security checkpoint and then they give me a high five as I stroll casually by retrieve my luggage.

Okay, maybe they don’t actually give me a high-five.

But all of that came to a screeching halt on a recent trip. You see one day you get that guy, the one who was supposed to start his break half an hour ago and is therefore surly, overworked, and tired. He may also be bald. Like the Brawny man, but shorter and with an angry scowl. This guy does not like to be questioned.

Brawny Man:  Ma’am, please remove your belt.
Me:  Oh, it’s okay, I’ve worn this through before—
Brawny Man:  MA’AM. Please remove your belt.
Me:  But really, it won’t set off the machine it’s okay, I prom—
Brawny Man:  MA’AM. TAKE. OFF. YOUR. BELT.
My husband was busy giving me the look of death. Even though he was in line behind me, I could feel his eyes boring into my back, as if to say, “For the love of God woman, please stop arguing with the TSA man.”

I had to admit defeat.  I hung my head and took off my belt. Since all of my gray bins were already full, I put it in one of those circular thingies for loose change.

As I walked by the Brawny man he scowled a little more and huffed.

“Really?” Chris asked me as we were gathering our items on the other side. “Really?! You wanted to argue with the TSA man?”

“But I know that—“

“I don’t know if you noticed, but he didn’t care.”

“He wasn’t very nice about it.”

“He was nice enough the first time. But when he had to tell you for the third time, then yes, you’re right, he wasn’t very polite by then.”

There are two morals to this story, really.

Number 1: There is no helping the process. Be prepared to use a lot of bins. At least, if you’re anything like me.

Number 2 (the most important lesson): Don’t argue with airport security. Even if you’re right. YOU WON’T WIN.



kate said...

I became a master at speedy security checks after working at the husband, however? I'm still training him.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I hate hate hate security. I'm a seasoned traveler, but I still always require 5 bins to get through. I've just become pretty efficient at doing it quickly.

I hate when some impatient person behind me tries to take one of the bins I've set aside. Or when they push my bins forward to make room for their own. WE'LL ALL GET THROUGH SECURITY PEOPLE. No need to be a jerkface about it.

Cathy said...

I just don't wear a belt.

One time, we got pulled aside because a cousin had stuck a wine opener(corkscrew) into our carry on with out us knowing. As they were searching our bag I kept wondering what the hell they were going to find.

Kelly L said...

I really enjoy this concept of "airport belts"....