February 17, 2009

I survived the TSA

Or: "Don't try to fly without your ID card."

Monday morning, I had a flight from Denver to Michigan, via O'Hare, for business. I'd packed the suitcase on Sunday, and set it aside, with my work laptop, a copy of my itinerary, a book on the air war in Europe during WWII, and my coat, gloves, and wool cap.

Monday, I woke at the unholy hour of 0530, and my first considered act was to push "Brew" on the coffee pot. I showered, shaved, dressed, and did my best to bribe my brain into higher function with excessive levels of 1,3,7 trimethylxanthine.

I grabbed the suitcase, laptop bag, coat, gloves, wool cap, cell phone, and paperback book. I snag my keys from the hook by the door, lugged the above items to the trunk, and started the car, heater running, and rear window defroster on.

Back inside, I bowl up some food for the dogs, fill my "go-cup" with more of that hot, black, Costa Rica-grown goodness ("Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood, the cup of ever lasting life.") Into the car, dial the news/weather/traffic station, and start the 35 mile drive to DIA.

Arrive, pull into West Economy Lot parking, snag a decent spot, and lug the suitcase et al to the ticket counter. Wait in line, and only then do I reach for my wallet to do the auto/self check-in stuff (slide your credit card in the slot, it brings up your reservation, prints a boarding pass, and charges you $15 to check one bag.

My wallet. Right here in my back pocket... right here.... uh, maybe in my coat pocket.... no, maybe in the OTHER coat pocket.... uh, shit.

BACK to the car, search in vain, and come to the conclusion that I didn't grab my wallet. No ID. No credit card. No debit card. No company credit card. No wallet.

Self, I said to myself, you've got some talent.

Plan B: I talked to the United ticket agent, who was rather pleasant and tolerant of my sheer stupidity, and she informed me that there was another flight to O'Hare, and I could catch a later flight to Michigan, and that rebooking me would be a snap, and would only cost $150, and she accepts all major credit cards.

*blink blink*

Obviously, that won't work. Nor will my Plan C: I can't leave to go get my wallet, as I have no money with which to pay the 20 minutes of parking that will undoubtedly cost just less than the recent stimulus package.

Plan D: Charm. Pure, unbridled, shameful, unadulterated, and savage charm. The kind of charm that managed to undress Marie Williams on senior prom.

I gave her my best "sad puppy dog" eyes.

Worked, too, because she let me check my bag without paying the $15.

But then she called over the TSA guy to give me a special screening. I was certain this would involve some sort of body cavity search, and while I can be somewhat liberal in certain regards (nekkid hot springs come to mind,) me and my starfish have a rather monogamous relationship. I don't share that part of me with just anyone, ya dig?

Luckily, though, there was no probing of my.... backside... and I just had to answer some questions against a database. He calls a number, gives them my name, and the guy on the phone asks me things like "Month of your birth," and "What is your middle name" and "List every state you've lived in," and so forth. On one hand, it kinda bugs me that I'm in a government database: the federal gubbermint isn't exactly known for keeping secrets well (see: Twitter, Iraq trip,) but on the other hand, they've got the information already, it's probably readily available with a Google Search since I've had an on-line presence for a while, and I really just want to catch my damn flight.

Roommate sent my wallet to the hotel here via overnight FedEx, and I'll be putting my passport and a couple twenty dollar bills in my briefcase, just in case this happens again.


Rogue Medic said...

Always good to hide some cash in the car. Some states allow you to hold onto your expired license in case you lose your current one. Not that I would ever forget anything.

Is that Grail dishwasher safe?

Since TSA is supposed to be looking for signs of stress as a part of their screening, how did your lethal dose of java escape them? OK. I do forget some things. You were dealing with TSA. :-)

TOTWTYTR said...

If your state allows it, get a duplicate driver's license. In my state you can go on line and request a new license. They will only mail it to the address on your license, but they will take a credit card.

I keep one in a business card holder along with a few dollars when I ride my bike.

I'd be hesitant to leave my passport in a suitcase since they are a bitch to replace and expensive as well.

The expired license thing might work except that the TSA folks actually look at that and might (I know it's hard to believe) not think that you are you if you give them the expired one.

I'm really surprised that the TSA allowed you to fly, with or without, the deep body probe.

Rogue Medic said...


I'm really surprised that the TSA allowed you to fly, with or without, the deep body probe.

They don't call them The Starfish Agency for nothing.