Friday, October 29, 2010

I can't stop laughing!

It sure is nice to laugh loudly and uncontrollably every once in a while.  I've been so disappointed and stressed lately and had a lot of aggravation this afternoon, in particular.  The helpful insurance woman at the pharmacy called me around 3:00 pm, after which I called my doctor's office, insurance, pharmacy again... By 5:06 pm I'd been on the phone or on hold for more than two hours.

Queue local news broadcast, the 5:30 portion and I'm watching behind real time via DVR magic.  Channel 10's Beau Zimmer is reporting on the new extended TSA pat-down protocols and interviewing passengers at Tampa International Airport about their experiences.   He explained that the new protocols provoked mixed responses with the additional qualification that women tended to be more likely than men to find the changes objectionable.

Suddenly I hear a woman identified as passenger Perky Olson lamenting, "until the lady came over with the plastic gloves I had no idea."  And I burst into laughter.
I suppose the juxtaposition of gloves associated with medical procedures (and bodily fluids and contaminations and general privacy) with the open expanses and very public public arena of an airport was just too much for me.

Shortly afterward passenger James McCormick is on screen and with a bit of humor in his voice explains, "they just pat you down all over, including your private parts."  His appearance was quickly followed by passenger Hugh Hoadley offering, "it would... uh... certainly [small chuckle] help them find something."

The segment returns to the original passenger's image and voice near the end.  And while moving her head slowly from side to side in the unmistakeable body language of NO Ms. Olson concludes with all seriousness, "I think the way they did it before with the wand, I think that was plenty."

I don't recall whether or not screeners wore gloves the last time I went through airport security.  Possible.  I do remember a few years back people complaining about pat downs that were considered more invasive at the time.  They were reportedly supposed to be done only by same sex screeners with the additional specification that women's breasts were only to be touched with the backs of the screeners hands.  So as to proactively avoid groping lawsuits, I suppose.

I guess you really had to see and hear the actual report for this information to be funny.  The humor was largely the selection of people interviewed and their specific words and tones.  Security is clearly a serious issue and perhaps this kind of screening would have caught the underwear bomber before he boarded a plane.

Who wants to know that when I combine the mental imagery of gloves (from the beginning) with wands (at the end) what I come up with is actually trans-vaginal ultrasound?  Realizing this, I only cackled with greater intensity.  Truly nothing funny about that, just a slightly more specific example of private vs. public examinations and paraphernalia.  Less funny when I recall the time an EKG was performed on me at an emergency room.  No problem, except that in this case my room was defined as a gurney sitting against the wall in the hallway.  A room number/letter combination affixed to the adjacent wall proclaimed this space to be an official room.  Even better, this was not just any hallway, but the very one that shortly leads directly to the ambulance crew emergency entrance.  As in a group of people potentially bursting in at any instant with all urgency and legitimacy.  Definitely not fun or funny.  I'm still a bit bitter about that, actually.  Oh well, was going to stop laughing sooner or later anyway.

Nov 18, 2010 ETA: I'm very surprised that it's taken this long for reports of outrage over this new practice to reach the nightly news broadcasts.  I must admit that what they're currently doing has got to be better than strip-searches.  Is that going to be the next step?

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