So I left last Friday morning to go to the board retreat for my first official day working with this left coast software business I've been fooling around with. Mom drove me. I've been staying with my parents to help dad deal with his various cancers and other maladies only to watch him set land survival records and threaten to outlive his doctors (that'll wipe the smug off their faces). It's not as bad as it sounds: I have my own floor and since my mother threw away everything I had ever owned the day I left for college and then promptly moved to Houston (without leaving a forwarding address I might add), I'm not forced to sleep in my old room. But I am forced to sleep while being stared at by many copies of my leering adolescent self. How I got it into my head that I was good looking back then I do not know.
Out of the car and into the terminal. Past the huge new International Terminal project. This for the second 'domestic' airport. I'm sorry but I'm afraid this whole "Houston Boom Town of Destiny" thing is getting out of hand.
Beyond that the Southwest greeter was shouting "check in left, bag check only right!" at the top of her lungs. Being a seasoned (basted and roasted) traveler I moved right while avoiding eye contact (of course). Offended by my lack of Texas neighborly-ness, she stopped me and shouted "hey! bag check only" while I nodded and tugged my forelock. It's embarrassing enough, that I, who have been diamond and platinum clubbed the world over had to check a bag, but to be herded. Well let's just say I know how steers feel just after their “steerage” ceremony. Or do I? Because I then was processed through the TSA - or as I like call them: the one percenter's - chute. I call them that not because average comp for these minderbinders crests above $100K but because by my reckoning they will uncover a whole one percent of the security threats that go through an airport. Now follow my math here: according to their own 'quality control' report in the last comprehensive multi airport test they missed 95% of the fake bombs, guns, rocket launchers, bushel bags of Semtex and other ordinance that was lugged past them by bushy bearded guys in man dresses while catching 98% of the little old ladies with weaponized titanium hips. But that's only the beginning of their security theater virtuosity. One of my favorite pastimes while waiting to be "processed" is to think of all the ways I could get a bomb on a plane without going through the chute. And that's what gets me from 5 to 1 percent effectiveness.
Of course today they had a bomb sniffing dog (who as a Federal Dog was probably pulling down 30Gs with low deductible Veterinary care and retirement to a luxury kennel after five years tossed in) so maybe that doubled their effectiveness to...2%. But in fairness to the TSAistas, I think the existential pointlessness of their job is finally beginning to sink in, because after being directed by a ($100K) federal employee who was literally looking at a screen that alternated a large left and right arrow and then pointing left and right with it (I kid you not) I ended up going through the "Aw fuck it, who gives a rip" or as they euphemistically put it: "Expedited" line. What's next? The pre-cleared terrorist line? "I'm sorry sir but this line is only for pre cleared terrorists from Federally Accredited terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, Al Ansar, Boko Haram and ISIS. I'm sure you understand that the Federal Government can't accommodate every Tom, Dick and Crazy that wants to blow up a plane."
Incidentally, a couple hours at an airport listening to the omnipresent happy talk drone of CNN is enough to make you want to shoot that sonofabitch Ted Turner. My God, My God why have you forsaken me? I blame Jane Fonda. But it's my own fault - tempted by filthy lucre not to mention justifiably showing up for work a few hours late - I took the oversold deal. The gate agent said "you're in luck Mr. Reeves! Your new flight will get you in ten minutes before this one plus you get $366 to boot!" Which I suppose is "good news" unless you were hoping to screw around in the Las Vegas airport for a few hours the way I was. Smug bastard.
At that point I got on the plane and breathed into the airsickness bag until I stopped hyperventilating. God I hate first days. It's probably going to rain.