Flying for a person with obsessive compulsive tendencies is a very trying matter. The fun begins at the TSA security line, but first let me give you a brief background so you can begin to understand the situation.
Because I have “issues,” there is a ritual that occurs each day before I am able to leave the house. I methodically pack specific pockets with cash (rarely, because I really hate cash–but I’m traveling here…best to be safe), lip balm, keys, wallet or whatever else I feel necessary to be equipped for the day. I then check and recheck those same pockets multiple times before I feel ready to leave the house. It’s a continual movement that makes me reminiscent of Peter Falk in the Colombo series–standing, rotating in circles, patting each pocket in order to assess that its contents haven’t magically disappeared since placement. I’m told it’s a bit comical to watch.
Well, now I’m standing in my socks at the front of an airport security line full of hostile people in a hurry, staring at me wondering what my “deal” is. My deal is that we are expected to strip ourselves nearly bare, emptying out those perfectly packed pockets and let our carefully itemized belongings out of our sight. Then, assuming the scanning machine hasn’t stolen, dropped, zapped or flagged anything, we’re left with the task of reinspecting each item as it emerges, just barely out of our reach. If I trust my eyes that everything is in order (sometimes you have to touch as well…just to be sure!), then starts the wonderful task of attempting to repack your pockets as they originally were, all while someone else is reaching over and around you, moving and touching your bins to make room for other ones rolling out, which are also touching yours. I urgently try to find the furthest nook, of which there is none, to stop people from getting near my stuff while I’m trying to repack and take inventory. Now I’m holding up the line, doing the Colombo dance, trying to check and recheck my pockets for the correct contents in the correct places. It’s all a bit maddening, especially when you consider that all of this, of course, occurs under the watchful and suspicious eyes of those with the ability to kick you out of the airport and make your immediate life miserable. Although hopefully comical for you to read and maybe for some of those around you in line to watch, it’s actually quite frustrating!
Once that debacle is past, you get to reflect upon the fact that, in truth, the security line wasn’t the first obstacle. After you reach your gate and/or finally get seated on the plane, you get to revisit the first issue encountered with flying….the intense pondering upon the whereabouts of the carefully packed luggage you were forced to surrender at the baggage counter. Did it make it onto the plane? Your plane? Was it mistaken for someone else’s? Was it inspected, opened, man-handled, spilled, lost, mangled, dropped…. The endless list of possibilities won’t stop running though your head until you are once again reunited with said luggage and able to open and inspect the contents. But before that, you have to contend with all the other people who want a piece of my luggage–the taxi, the bellhop…why can’t they just let me carry my own stuff? I don’t look that infirmed or bad for my age!
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling very much, I just can’t stand the processes involved. It’s very taxing for someone with “issues”. Just a little food for thought the next time you’re upset at the slow guy holding up the line! We aren’t doing it on purpose, so please show a little compassion to those in need!
(And don’t get me started on the germs, recycled air, and unsanitized surfaces of the plane itself…trapped in a tin can with all these hacking, sneezing typhoid Mary’s. What fun!)