Sitting in the Delta gate after a long day of cancelled flights, delayed flights, nonexistent flights, flights of fancy (what if I just walk from North Carolina to Connecticut?) and flights of madness (did you really think this flight would take off? Madness!) Delta has sunk from not-that-bad on my list of Things That Are Not That Bad, to things-I-hate on my list of Things I Hate. Also on that list: TSA.
Some general highlights from the unrelenting hours of frustration and chaos involve being identified as a terrorist, when the TSA lady who patted me down ran her glove sample through the machine wrong. After the machine beeped, she shot me a look that was equal parts trepidation and triumph, and then informed me that I was bearing “unidentified substances.” When I asked her what they were, she said, a little triumphantly, “How do I know? They’re unidentified!” Then she called over a lady whose general bearing and demeanor would make ancient Rome tremble. As my new friend scrubbed her hands violently around my crotchal area, she asked, “When’s your flight?” I told her that it should have left already but was still delayed, and that my initial plan had been to run and hopefully catch it. She gave me the up and down. “I don’t know about that,” she said, and shoved her hands back into my crotch. TSA, serving and protecting America all the way.
(My Napoleonic no-foreplay friend did not, for the record, find any terroristic substances, unidentified or otherwise.)
So it is now hours after I should have been home, I haven’t eaten since yesterday, and I am sitting on the floor of an area that currently resembles a refugee camp more than an airplane terminal. Every few minutes they announce another canceled flight, and if they cancel my delayed flight, I will become one of those crazy people you hear about on the news who everybody says was so nice and harmless and then they just LOSE THEIR SHIT and jump out of a window and set themselves on fire and slap a nun, and nobody knows what was wrong with them. Peruvian buses may plummet over the edge of cliffs once a week, but the other six days, they are in motion. And nobody plunges their fists into your underwear before they let you get on.