Thursday, August 10, 2006

Drinks On A Plane

It was a good day in the sense that nobody died.

Never mind the fact that the next time I fly, it's going to require even more of a wait than it normally does, although I do have the benefit of operating out of a relatively small airport and any of the hubs that I have to go through, I'm already on the other side of the terminal gate, so I've never had to deal with waiting in line at the checkpoint in a place like Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, which at a busy time (read: always) is the 8 th circle of hell. For that, I'm fortunate. Also, I take solace in the fact that I don't depart from what could be considered a primary target. Or a secondary target. No, Tallahassee Regional is the airport that would be under siege if in fact all of the other airports in North America prove too hard to crack. This includes London, Ontario, where there's only two sitting room terminals, one baggage claim belt and a whole lotta DeHavelands flying in and out. But yet that's the city I happened to be in on 9/11 and even we didn't know if something was going to fall out of the sky.

It's actually presumptuous to say this was Al Queda, since we don't know exactly who was trying to gum up the works at Heathrow this morning. I feel bad for any other terrorist cell in the world sometimes, since AQ's existence for everyone else has gotta be like being John Mayer and every time one of his songs is played someone goes, "hey, is this Dave Matthews?". But it was HOW they planned on doing it. If 9/11 was a plan hatched by S.P.E.C.T.R.E., than this was more of a terrorist plot by way of The Joker, with it being an attempted attack by way of liquid explosives which were to be combined like some sort of mecha molitov cocktail and then detonated with a fake electronic device.

And now, finally, after 5 years, terrorism has found a way to affect me. Because the first two things TSA edicted was the following: no water/liquids of any kind and no electronic devices. In other words, there went the two main staples of my life in air travel.

The terrorists lose, yet the terrorists win. And now for me after all this time, this shit is now personal.

One of my little pre-flight rituals is the Aquafina. Not because I wish to be difficult, but because I wish NOT to be difficult. Dry, pressurized areas such as airplanes? For me, they're dehydrating and can cause cotton mouth right quick. Which is why I'd rather be self-reliant and bring my own on rather than cough up a dustball in waiting for the stewardess to bring any, that they only come around with so many times anyway. And while my iPod is my favorite toy on Earth, that I can live without. Until of course someone stuffs a sliver of C-4 into the binding of a J.K. Rowling hardcover and that's the next thing that gets taken away.

TSA is claiming it's only temporary, but knowing how policies like this work, once they're gone they're gone and they ain't coming back. Because the minute they do, it's practically an invite to try this same stunt again, and for all my bitching, I prefer them going one way or another, right or wrong, without playing Red Light Green Light 1-2-3 with this.

It used to be even 10 years ago that the airport was a place you went to travel expediently, and something like the bus or train station was where you were ordered around like cattle, treated like other crap as a paying customer and were at the mercy of the drivers/engineers as to when you ever got anywhere. The latter hasn't improved, but the gap has closed simply because flying conditions have worsened, and for the worst reason: we are playing a totally reactive game. Yes, this was snuffed out before it could be implemented and hundreds of lives were saved because of it, and the ones who caught it before it became another disaster are genuine heroes. But part of security measures means constantly having to be on defense, and only the would-be terrorist know where the ball is heading.

But how do they win even though they technically lost? By reminding us that they're there. By making us restrict ourselves because of them. And the more they do, the closer we get to being the woman who won't leave the house because we fear our jealous ex-boyfriend is out there watching. Besides, they bolted the cockpit doors, we have a Passenger 57 on major flights and now it's this, and it's going to be something else next time.

Maybe it's something petty like how I hate that my right not to have cotton mouth on an airplane has now been taken away from me, but don't our little compromises of freedom START with little things that snowball? As it is now, this means more tanking up in Tallahassee or Hartsfield or wherever to make sure I'm properly hydrated before flying. This is another thing I know I'll learn to hate about this whole situation: the fact that it'll now make me think that a seat by the bathroom isn't a bad thing., and that's just wrong.

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