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Pre-flight paranoia

An out-of-order post. Though you’re seeing this after I’ve “escaped,”** I’m writing it at 3:45 a.m. in the sleepless hours before my flight from the U.S. I’m at a friend’s house in the big city, connected to a network one of their zillions of neighbors left handily unsecured.


I’m still excited about my trip, but I’ve been struck by pre-flight paranoia.

It started yesterday as I packed. Deciding to take tea along, I slipped some regular old Lipton, then a few Earl Greys into a baggie. Finally, I tossed in a couple packets of my favorite treat-tea, the lovely stuff I drink when I’m feeling indulgent. As I was about to pop all that into a corner of a carry-on, I looked at the brand name on the treat packets: Ahmad English #1.

Ahmad I thought. Sounds Arabic. And I turned the packets around so the brand name wouldn’t show.

Paranoid? Yep, completely. The only question is: Whose paranoia? Mine or the TSAs?

Then last night before bedtime, I read this oh-so-very-heartening article on the realities of The New Security (post-crotch-bomber). And now, while I still feel brave about this morning’s flight, since my subversive Arab-sounding tea is concealed, I dread the return.

And with the mention of so many passengers’ hands and belongings being swapped for alleged “traces of explosives,” I recall the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven. I know that things as non-boomacious as playing cards, plastic wrappers, and ordinary household cleaning products can test positive … and then what?

And as many as four out of five passengers selected for “special” screening in some places? How very special is that?

I wonder what awaits when I must return to the Land of the Formerly Free?


I hoped to keep the travel posts as chronological as possible. But realizing I might not even find an Internet cafe, let alone a conveniently unsecured wifi, network in the first week of travel, I hope you won’t mind one or two out of place. And I hope you won’t mind if I’m not completely coherent. Haven’t had my “terrorist tea” or any other caffeine injection yet this morning …

** I HOPE you’re reading it after I’ve escaped. After writing it, I’ve gotten trapped in the travel hell I wrote about Thursday night. Although I’m leaving this up as a scheduled post, at the point of this edit, I have no idea whether I’m even going to make it to my destination. I’m still sitting on the floor of the extremely over-air-conditioned Miami International. It’s midnight and I’m cold, exhausted, and unsure of what tomorrow will bring.

One Comment

  1. Winston
    Winston February 23, 2010 9:47 am

    Put bacon in your carry-on! It’s tasty and it pretty much absolves you of anything “arabic” lol.

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