When I got my new hips there was a lot of talk about not being able to have any more MRIs because the magnet would rip the implants right out of my body. Turns out not to be true. There was also talk about carrying a card saying I had implants, since they would set off security devices at the airport. I remember wondering why anyone would need to show a card. Couldn't you just tell them?
I haven't been on a plane since January, something rare for me. So I was happy to discover that getting through security at O'Hare was still as much fun and easy as ever.
Take off your shoes. Don't put them in a container anymore, because now they go through like little soldiers, all by themselves.
Take your computer out of its bag. Put it into a separate container all by its lonesome. How nice, it looks just like those other six computers going through at the same time.
Put your computer's bag in yet another container with your jacket, your purse, your staying alive machine [c-pap] and all your clothes. Okay, not ALL your clothes.
Now try to keep track of $4000 worth of personal belongings as they roll out of sight, while you wait in another line to go through the scanner.
Which, in my case, sets off the alarms. DING DING DING!
"Do you have any change in your pockets?" No. "Does your bra have any metal?" No. Are you wearing any jewelry." No. "Earrings?" Isn't that jewelry? "Just answer the question, please."
I went through again. DING DING DING!
This time I turned my pockets inside out. DING DING DING!
Now, I'm annoyed. C'mon, just let me try one more time. DING DING DING. @#$%&$*@#*!!!!
In a show of genuine concern, they bring over some guy with a machine that checks out the accuracy of the scanner. He pushes a few buttons, writes down something and I go through one final time.
DING DING, etc. [You know where this is going don't you?]
"Step over here m'am, we have to use the wand." I don't particularly like the wand. Or being called m'am.
Luckily I wasn't in LA, where using the wand is license feel you up like a bad blind date. Even worse, they announce what they're going to do. And you're expected to agree with them. "I am going to touch your body now." Touch my body? Okay, sure. And they really touch you in ways that used to get guys like Ralphie Regabutto slapped upside the head.
Thankfully, at O'Hare, they only attempt to get to first base.
As I sat on the chair about to be "wanded", I craned my neck, trying to keep track of all my containers as they were rent asunder by the TSA agents. The fine men and women of this semi professional law enforcement agency generally pounce on my staying alive machine like dogs on a bone. Within a matter of seconds, my stuff has been scattered all over the place. My computer is bouncing around at the end of the belt, my shoes are nowhere to be seen, and my breathing machine has been taken apart and whisked off to their makeshift lab for bomb residue. They do a CSI number on it. Using industrial strength Q-tips, the kind usually reserved for removing elephant earwax, they wipe the surface of the machine, then check to see if anything starts to glow in the dark. Meanwhile, as I try to keep my eye on things, I'm not paying much attention to the felony assault taking place on my body.
Suddenly, I set off the wand as it makes its way around my right hip. The agent looks as me. I roll my eyes. Crap.
"Oh, sorry. I've, uh, got two hip implants. You see, this is my first flight since the surgery. And BLAH BLAH BLAH. . ."
The woman looks at me like she could stick the wand where the sun don't shine. "You forgot that you had hip implant surgery? Really? You forgot."
Yep. I totally, completely, forgot. The good news is I don't notice the new hips at all, unlike some people, who are always aware of them.
The bad news is that I don't know whether the TSA peeps are going to be laughing at me because I'm a dumb blond or a sad, demented senior.