DIARY OF A MAN TRYING TO MAKE HIS WAY THROUGH SECURITY AT THE AIRPORT
6:30 a.m. I think I’ll make it. I hope I’ll make it. They say the security lines are long, so I’m building in some extra time to make sure I make the flight. It should go quickly — liquids in a separate bag, no belt, slip-on shoes; I’ve practiced the scanner stance in front of a mirror so I can get my hands up quickly. The flight leaves in 14 hours, but I think I’m good.
I just wish the line were moving faster. I have to admit I was surprised to see the end of the line was in my driveway. Well, that’s the advantage of living close to the airport!
7:10 Stupid me. I have TSA Pre, that magical status that lets you blow through security for no apparent reason. I’m calling an Uber to drive to the end of the Pre line. Woo-hoo! Looks like I’ll have some time in the terminal to enjoy one sip of a beer before bolting down the jetway as it pulls away from the fuselage.
7:55 Well, the TSA Pre line was closed. Had to Uber to the back of the regular line, which now extends to the Mendota Bridge. With all the luggage it looks like a column of people trying to escape Paris before the Nazis arrive, but not as cheerful.
8:40 Someone tried to cut in line. It wasn’t pretty. He was desperate, almost crying — said he had to make his flight, he just had to, and if he wasn’t on that plane tomorrow ... Tomorrow? we said. Back of the line, pal. Imagine that: The guy thinks he can barge in front of people whose planes leave in just eight hours. Some people.
9:55 Making great time now. Almost to the road that leads to the main terminal. The planes are taking off overhead, and they’re going really, really fast, almost as if they’re not burdened by the weight of passengers. There’s a food truck up ahead. Hope to get something by noon.
12:20 p.m. Nine dollars for a bottle of water? Seriously? That’s what you’d pay in the airport, the guy said. But we’re not in the airport, I point out. He said that I was having the airport experience, and that means airport prices. I told him where he could put his bottle of water in no uncertain terms, so he put it back in the fridge. (Which is what I said, but I meant it as a metaphor.) I got out my phone and ordered some water and snacks from Amazon Prime Now. Should be here in a while.
1:30 The food and water arrived from Amazon and a fight broke out and I lost everything. The last thing I remember was the twisted, feral face of a man grabbing the Pringles can — we locked eyes, and he was suddenly ashamed. It’s for my daughter, he whispered.
4:00 We’re almost in the terminal. Last few hours mostly uneventful, except a woman gave birth in line. It was wonderful to see everyone pull together as a team and move her and her family to the side of the road before continuing on.
5:10 In the terminal now. It’s festive! Struck up a conversation with the man behind me, who’s quite relaxed. He doesn’t have a particular flight to catch. When he’s past security he’s going to use his computer to book a flight. He found a ticket template online and printed it off so he could get past security. He shows it to me. I tell him that I don’t think Generic Airlines flies out of Minneapolis anymore. Not since the merger.
6:25 Wow! We’re really clipping along now. Two lanes are open. And they have a dog that speeds things up. I thought it was supposed to sniff for explosives, but it just nips at the heels of people trying to get their stuff on the conveyor belt.
7:17 Minor problem up ahead; the TSA agent was looking at the flier, then down at the boarding pass, then over at the driver’s license, then back up at the flier, then down at the boarding pass, over and over again. This went on for five minutes until another agent came over and hit him on the head to get him unstuck. But now the TSA agent has to go in the back and get rebooted.
8:02 I made it to the TSA kiosk! I had everything ready and handed it all off to the nice agent, and I am waiting to be approved. He’s just looking at me now, and he says the same thing over and over again. I don’t know what he means.
What’s this about a “Terminal 2”?