Ah, how time can heal old injuries (and allow for new ones, but that's not the subject of this post). A friend recently reminded me that I never finished my tales of woe over traveling in January.
We left off where I had finally gotten the ticket situation mostly straightened out, with just about an hour before the flight departed. So, as any normal person would do in an unfamiliar airport (we moved just after DIA opened, and I really haven't flown in/out of Denver very often), I followed the signs leading to security, which happens to be down one level from ticketing. I know this, because as I was following the signs that were pointing down, I was also looking at the massive pool of humanity being herded through the security gates below me.
[time out for major rant: WHY DO WE LET THE POWERS THAT BE DO THIS TO US? WHY DO WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE HERDED LIKE CATTLE? THE TERRORISTS REALLY WILL WIN BECAUSE WE'RE SO PISSED WE COMMIT AIR RAGE AND END UP ON THE DO-NOT-FLY LISTS!]
Problem 3: The First Security Gate
I hurry down the stairs to the cattle-drive...um....security line, only to be met by a TSA agent in the process of closing off that security area and saying that we need to go to the one on the other side of the airport. (No, this isn't the guy I flipped off, but I was pretty darn close at this point.)
Problem 4: The Second Security Gate
Okay, I'm in line now. I ask an agent what time it is...she makes a very exasperated point of trying to find a clock on a wall somewhere (I never did see the clock), and huffs that it's about 2:10 (my phone is almost dead, there are no outlets in sight, and I've got to save the battery to let my ride know when I've landed). I'm watching two lines getting funneled into one (the one I'm in), and the one line moving at slower than a snail's pace. I just chose the first line I got to, but turns out that my line was the one with the air-puff machine. Who knows what this thing is supposed to do. It's a gate with doors on one side. You step in, it puffs air over you, you step out, then take off your shoes and go through the normal security gate. But that description makes it sound like it goes quickly. It doesn't, especially when you're in line. It's like going through the car wash...the other car is already out but the doors don't open for you. Actually, going through a car wash is even quicker than this machine.
The woman behind me is checking flight info on her phone and finds out her flight is delayed by 30 min. I jokingly ask if she's going to Mpls, but no such luck. My flight boards at 2:25, and by now it's around 2:20. At the urging of the people behind me, I go up to an agent to ask if there's anything that can be done to get me through quickly (DIA is a tram airport, so I know I've even got a way to go once I get through this mess).
This guy was the proverbial straw. He was such an arrogant, condescending prick as he told me there was absolutely nothing that could be done because everyone was in the same situation. It's impossible for the slime factor to show up in the written version of this story, but trust me, it was there. People around me are nice enough to let me move ahead, and my cheerleaders behind me tell me to just go to the front of the line (by this time, I'm in tears because I have a physiological reaction to stress that results in me dissolving into a weeping puddle). The nice people at the front let me in, I wait forever to go through the puffy thing, then wait forever for my bags to go through security. (Forgot to mention that while in line, the zipper on my carry-on bag breaks. Not too much of a problem, but I like to know my stuff won't go spilling out everywhere.)
While between the air-puffer and the regular security gate, I catch sight of the prick, and, on the spur of the moment, flip him off. Yes, I know this is not wise, but damned if I care at this point. I don't really want to leave Denver anyway, and it's freedom of speech, isn't it? I really didn't do anything wrong....
Finally get through security. I have no idea what time it is, but I know the flight's boarding and I've still got a ways to go (my gate is B37, which in Mpls, would literally be the end of the C concourse). Catch a tram, get to the terminal I need to be at when the first good thing happens! My gate is at the near end of the concourse!
Problem 5:The Mechanical Problem
Sure enough, the line is in place to board. I've sprinted hard enough to aggravate my exercised-induced-asthma, and can barely talk to the guy to get my boarding pass, but get that settled. Sit down to wait my turn (I'm in the last boarding stage), when the United guy comes on the intercom to announce that there is a mechanical problem with our plane and our flight will be delayed. When I don't have a connecting flight, and am just heading home, delayed flights really don't bother me. But I was pissed that I probably pissed a lot of people off cutting ahead, pissed that I couldn't really breathe because of my sprinting, and then it all turned out to be for nothing.
So, that is the saga of my family vacation flight. Again, WHY DO WE ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN? CAN'T SOMEONE BE ACCOUNTABLE? CAN'T WE RETAIN SOME OF OUR HUMAN DIGNITY? (I've seen especially elderly travelers completely humilitated by having to remove shoes, belts, etc.) DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF MY LIQUID CARRY-ON IS 3 OR 4 OUNCES? WITH ALL OF THIS fucking bullshit (yes, I said it) THE TERRORISTS REALLY WILL WIN!!!!!