Monday, December 10, 2012
The working life: Leaving
At the airport, at what I later realized was just the beginning of a labyrinthine process of various security checkpoints and long, long lines, all of which were multiple server, multiple line, which is the most unfair queuing system there is, although I don't think the airport authority there concerns itself with fairness.
In their defense, does any airport authority concern itself with fairness?
I have spent many an hour watching impatiently as the line I am not in moves much faster than my line. I have watched TSA agents trying to put a cat through the x-ray. I have spent time in the Paris airport, which, for anyone else who has been there, is all I need to say and for the rest of you, you would not believe the gross inefficiency and disregard for passenger experience even if I told you.
But man - three security lines? Plus an interrogation? Plus a complete patdown, one so thorough that I wanted to ask for a cigarette afterwards?
They go all out at this airport.
We stood in line and went through security one. Then we got to the airline desk to get checked in. Had to be interrogated first. "Has your luggage been in your possession since you packed it?"
The correct answer, no matter what, is yes. Even if you left your bags with the hotel concierge for five hours, you say "yes." Otherwise, you will never get out. You for sure do not admit, as I did once, after the stupid week in Paris with the Moroccan Millionaire, that an Arab man gave you something.
In my case, it was a garish piece of pottery. Who gives pottery as a gift to someone who is traveling internationally? A millionaire who does not think about the logistics involved, apparently, and who also probably just sent his secretary to buy something, although nothing says "personal!" like a brightly-patterned huge vase.
After I lied to the agent about where my luggage had been, I had to wait in line some more to check in.
The two young women working at the Delta desk were laughing and joking with each other.
Me: You guys are having too much fun. Stop it.
YW1: Oh, we just started working. We will be here for hours. We have to make it fun.
Me: You're working on the holiday! [It was the beginning of a three-day weekend.]
YW1 [sighs]: Yes. And I wanted to be outside because the weather is so nice.
Me [puzzled]: It's raining!
YW1: I know! I can't remember the last time I saw rain!
And that's the end of that story because who wants to read about two more long, long lines and no place to sit and restroom stalls that are too small for you and the stupid computer bag you have to carry because you can't check your work computer?