I happened across a news story this morning in my daily perusal of news and what’s-going-on-in-the-world that struck a nerve with me. It has nothing to do with my usual blogging. Actually, no, that’s not entirely true. I have an all metal hip replacement in my left hip, and that fact does come into play in my story. I take it back, it kinda does relate to my usual blogging of “noise from a chick with disabilities”.
ANYway, I have traveled pretty much my whole life. Between growing up as a kid that moved a lot, and then marrying a guy in the Navy, it’s been pretty much a guarantee that my friends and family would be in a different part of the US than I was. Typically it’s fine. I’m not afraid of airplanes or road trips.
This particular story relates to an article posted on CNN three days ago. Angela Rye was “selected for additional screening” and shared her experience. I read through her article and I got it. I mean I really related to it because I’m a woman, and we don’t appreciate being physically accosted for security theater, and because I have an artificial hip (which makes traveling fun). All metal, my entire left hip. It sets off metal detectors.
I know that it will most likely set off their metal detectors. I tell them I have a hip replacement. I have all the paperwork to show I’m just a chick with an implant. I tell them to stick me in the scanner and they’ll see it. I explain everything, and although I have been subjected to “additional screening” for longer than most people, I have complied because I knew it was easier for them to stick me in the scanners that let them see everything than it was to fight with them.
The first time I traveled after my hip surgery was about 7 weeks after surgery. I still had my cane then, so it was pretty easy to see I was just a chick traveling and not a threat. *But* the last trip I went on a few years ago to fly out to my mom’s in California -that trip- taught me a thing or three about what a hurtful experience feels like all in the name of security theater.
I checked in and made my way through the security check points. I had a carry-on and my youngest daughter with me and we were on our way home after a week or so in California. I told the TSA agent I had a metal hip before I stepped through the metal detector. It dinged, unsurprisingly. I explained that it they let me step into the scanner that was right there two steps away, he would see my hip and I could go about my merry way.
“Nope, you set off the metal detector. You need to be checked.”
SERIOUSLY??!! Have you seen any thirty-something, small, white, redheaded moms terrorizing anyone lately?!
Not only did they subject me to a full, humiliating pat down, no that wasn’t enough. They:
Made me strip down to my tank top and jeans, telling me to take my hoodie off in front of Gawd and everybody.
Insisted on keeping my daughter 10 feet away from me
Wouldn’t let me touch any of my own stuff or my kid
Searched my carry-on and my daughter’s backpack
and finally, ran her fingers through my hair, under the waistband of my jeans, up my thighs, over my chest, butt, stomach…you name it.
The entire thing was embarrassing and humiliating. But worst of all, on top of them taking all my stuff away from me, was my kid seeing them search me like I had done something wrong and not allowing my 10 year old daughter near me.
The final kick in the teeth? After everything was said and done, and I got my kid and my stuff back, we made our way over to the gate to sit down for a minute and wait for our flight. Not 5 minutes later a lady walked over, sat down at our same gate, and reached into her bag for something and pulled out a full bottle of water that she had opened, taken one drink out of, put back in her bag, and made it through security!
“Oh! ha…ha….I forgot I had that. Whoops.”
(The water thing wasn’t her fault and I wasn’t mad at her. It just illustrates that the TSA is a joke.)
#TSAVaginaMonologues #SecurityTheater #travelingwhiledisabled