Friday, March 7, 2014

A Frisky Frisking

            It all began innocently enough.  My dear friend’s daughter was having a baby shower, so I flew to L.A. for the day to help her celebrate.  Four of us raised our kids together, and consider each other’s children more as nieces and nephews.  And we’ve all vowed to be on hand for all their big milestones.
            I needed to haul a few presents, so to save space in my carry-ons I left my wallet home, just quickly grabbing my driver’s license, a credit card, and some cash.  And the shower was a lovely tea in a hotel ballroom.  Here’s just a sampling of the beautiful party:


             But back to my driver’s license.  In my haste I had grabbed the wrong one.  The expired one.  The one where I am not standing there with a dead gnat stuck in my lipstick and my hair frizzed out as if I’ve been electrocuted (I wrote about that here).  Oh, sure, I carry that hideous baby around for when someone demands a current license, but the expired one is the one I generally show for I.D., and that’s the better looking one I grabbed by mistake.
            No problem leaving Sacramento.  The guy at security happened to remember St. Bob and me from Bob’s TV days, so I glided through without a hitch.  But in Burbank, on the way back, the sweet girl checking I.D. asked her manager over, and he explained that I’d have to be patted down.
            Suddenly I am whisked aside like the terrorist I so clearly resemble, and a fierce (that’s all I will say, just fierce) woman came over, snapping on some blue rubber gloves like she was about to do a rectal exam, and said, “I’m going to have to pat your breasts and groin area, is that okay?”
            First of all, I am not certain that anyone has ever said the word, “groin” to me in my lifetime.  I sputtered, incredulous that I was even being asked this question, and said, “No—no it is not okay!”  I wanted to add, “Are you insane?” but thought it might create an even bigger problem.
            “We can go in a private room if you’d prefer,” she barked, all business.
            Like that would be better?  Are you kidding?  Heaven only knows what happens in those private rooms!  “Certainly not,” I said.  “Let’s do this in full view of the public.”  I glared at her but she was unstoppable.


            “Since you have on a dress, you’ll have to hold your legs apart,” she said.
            Gads!  Seriously?  I wore a dressy outfit there and back, and could only imagine her reaching up my skirt.  I was still in shock when she started rubbing my collar, then running her hands up and down my back, sides, front, you-name-it. 
            Why don’t we just have public mammograms?
            Horrified, I stared at the other passengers filing by.  Couldn’t they see I was being violated right here in front of them?  Nobody cared, nobody came over and said, “Here, here, now,” which someone surely should have shouted.
            This was worse than the time Pluto groped me at Disneyland, when we were trying to pose for a family photo with him.  Don’t ask.
            “Stay there and don’t touch anything,” she ordered, as she went over to run her gloves in front of some bomb powder detector thingy.  What was I going to touch?  Walls?  Other passengers?  How about I just pass out on the floor and inadvertently touch the tiles?
            Finally she came back and let me put my shoes back on and gather my belongings.  And for the rest of my life, I am carrying a current I.D., a passport, and a birth certificate, and I don’t care if there’s a pelican stuck on my lips.  I’d also wear a chastity belt, but I’d never make it through the metal detector. 
Hey, at least you could buy my books so you’ll have something to read, next time you’re detained at the airport.  Sisters in the Mix is a hilarious chick-lit novel even men enjoy.


  1. Ohmigosh, Joni. I felt my blood boil as I read about your experience. They let you put your shoes back on, did they? Those dangerous shoes that might contain a bomb! Why do we do this to ourselves? Why have we, as a nation, decided to do this to ourselves, out of our irrational fear and our misplaced belief that all this invasive and hideous airport security assures that never again will terrorists strike on U.S. soil. There's something very 1984 about it all, don't you think. So don't give in! You carry that old, out-of-date driver license with you whenever you feel like it! Otherwise, the terrorists win! Because, don't you think that was their plan all along? They hang around thinking up more implausible bombs--the bra bomb, the wedding ring bomb, the clear plastic water bottle bomb--so we can create ever more intrusive ways to do airport searches while they sit back and laugh. Sorry!

  2. I know, right? We are kidding ourselves when we think these silly measures actually prevent a serious terrorist from getting through. I mean, think about all the things that could be used as weapons-- eyeglasses, ball point pens, belt buckles, even underwires in bras!