I remember feeling biffed at the time because I had recently lost a carefully nurtured bindi collection that had gems from when I was a teenager to airport security all for having a small bottle of Milk of Magnesia with me in the same bag. I remember thinking that Milk of Magnesia is the thing to give the troops and travellers alike to avoid these conflicts of security. I mean what better check than clearing the contents of the bowels before take-off?
The new airport guidelines, I hear, announce clearly and loudly that a passenger is being taken for a pat down. Let’s move the scene to a Doctor’s office now for your convenience: Lots of people go to Doctors offices. When you notice folks sitting in the lobbies of these offices, you’ll notice a certain decorum they like to maintain. Rarely have I seen folks hitting it off and sounding positive seeing one another there. Most look resolutely into the magazines they are holding, or check sometimes non-existent messages on their phone. And there is a good reason for all that. They maybe there for anything and the last thing you want is for some prying Peter to ask, “So, will you be undressing in there today?” or “I hear you are being given a touchdown.” or “Top down or bottoms up?”
Or Droopy Delphi who is mopping around as usual and you ask, “You look down. Are you coming down with something?” only to find Delphi is now teary eyed and calling you mean. Poor Droopy Delphi was given the bottoms-up version and is still moping about it. But you don’t know that. You just ask a civil question.
Yet, this basic thing seems to be lacking in the new announce-and-jingle-bells before carting your passenger off. Pat if you must. I mean if it makes you feel safer by just touching folks, go for it, but do it discreetly. Say, “Please step into this line.” and go about your patting. Why embarrass the blighters thus? The alternative is to go through a full body x-ray machine. A tough choice for travellers.
The problem with all of this is humans are not infallible. There is the scope for the tired authority figure missing something during the pat down or the x-ray scan. Then what would the aftermath be?