There is a security lane at Midway International Airport (my secondary address) here in Chicago that’s designated “Expert Travelers Only”. Expert travelers know better than to use it, because it’s clogged with these folks, prattling on loudly about last year’s vacation to Disneyland while hauling two oversized carry-ons and kicking a brand-spankin’-new roll-aboard bag with cruise line luggage tags in front of them because their other hand is maneuvering the stroller. These people have nowhere to be, and therefore assume that no one in the airport on a Monday afternoon has anyplace to be. They’ve inevitably packed full-sized butane candle lighters in their shoulder bags and are wondering out loud if toothpaste is a liquid. Just thinking about them raises my tension level a couple of notches.
I think I’m going to write a book… in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s once funny and now woefully overexposed “…you might be a redneck” quips, I’m going to call this one, “…you’re not an ‘expert traveler.’” Of course, it won’t be funny… it will be painful. But at least it’s a familiar template. For instance:
1. If you are traveling with a child under the age of 15, or any two dependent children regardless of age… you’re not an expert traveler.
2. If a TSA agent has to use the word ‘and’ more than TWICE when reminding you what you’ve forgotten to remove for screening… you’re not an expert traveler.
3. If you do not know without being verbally instructed what can or cannot be carried, worn, or dragged through an airport metal detector… you’re not an expert traveler.
4. If you – yes, you personally – cannot carry what you deem to be “carry-on luggage”… you’re not an expert traveler.
5. If you cannot carry what you deem to be “carry-on luggage” because you have a fresh venti latte in your hand, you should be summarily shot… and you’re not an expert traveler.
6. If you are wearing shoes that you have to sit down to take off, see the above about summary execution and… you’re not an expert traveler.
7. If you do not know how to operate the bag in which your laptop is traveling… you’re not an expert traveler.
I could go on for hours about this. The list is never-ending, and I pick up a few new ones every time I fly. But I don’t have time because eventually I have to get through security at Midway.
While I'm waiting... George Carlin on airport security. Enjoy.