Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Separating you from all of your belongings

When I travel, I want to make sure I don't lose some key items. My phone, a credit card and/or cash, maybe a key to my house or car, my ID, and maybe a ticket for whatever transportation I'm taking. In the past, when I've gone through airport security, the magnetometer requires that I depart with my cell phone and purse, but I'll often keep my ID, maybe a credit card, and my boarding pass in my pocket or hand. I think this is totally normal behavior, and, to be honest, I'd be much more comfortable if I didn't have to part ways with my cell phone and wallet. And I feel naked without my watch. I avoid(ed) wearing a belt and jewelry when I would fly, and some women even avoid underwire bras (which can definitely make the woman "feel naked") But, the way magnetometers and carry-on x-ray machines are set up, you put things down on the belt, walk alongside the x-ray machine, and - often times - your items come out of the machine after you have made your way through.

I haven't been through a naked scanner, and I haven't seen a checkpoint with one in person. However, in all of the pictures and videos I've seen, the x-ray belt is not directly adjacent to the scanner, and the passenger is standing still, facing sideways, and looking at the inside of the scanner. In one of the numerous stories about the software upgrade, the TSA rep is bragging about how a piece of paper was identified in a man's pocket by the naked scanner.

But wouldn't it be entirely normal for a person to have a $20 in their pocket? Or their ID? Or their boarding pass?

What planet do you live on where you feel safer being visibly and physically separated from all of your belongings, including the various security blankets that you carry with you every other waking hour?