By Heather O.
So here’s the thing. I will conceded that a terrorist can look and act like almost everybody else. I’ve been to the spy museum, I know that a spy can change hair colors, put in different teeth to change their smiles, change their eye color with contacts. Heck, they even look like a totally different gender with the right clothes and make-up. But I’m here to tell you, security people of the world, that no terrorist, ever, will don the costume of being a mother. I mean, I guess they could hide a bomb in a stroller and pretend it was a newborn or something, but by and large, it is just too much darned work to even pretend to be a mother, and do what I imagine needs to be done in order to blow something up, or drop something off, or whatever it is that a terrorist really wants to do.
So please, security people, STOP SEARCHING ME AND MY 3 YEAR OLD!
Jacob and I embarked on our “Family Fun Marathon”, which began by spending the night in an Atlanta hotel room because we missed our connecting flight to Salt Lake. It was a miserable experience all around, but I did wake up the next morning hopeful that it would be a mildly uneventful day. Just get to the airport, get on the rebooked flight to Salt Lake, and everything would be fine.
It started out ok, but when we got to the subway, (yes, we had to take public transportation to said hotel, and it wasn’t the quick 15-20 minute trip the airport guy said it would be. Let’s just say we went to bed much later than expected, and I’m still not sure I’ve recovered. Stupid airport guy.) there were fully armed law enforcement officials standing around, and they looked pretty darned scary. And then they informed me that I had been selected for a “voluntary” bag search, and they would have to search my stroller, too. You don’t exactly say no to a man with a serious looking gun strapped to his chest, but c’mon, people, it’s a Spiderman backpack on the back of a cheap $8 umbrella stroller from Walmart–what exactly do you think it has in it? But I let them rifle through my Mother’s Bag ‘O Crap, and we went on our way.
We finally get to the airport, and I get into the ridiculously long security line, only to be told that I had, once again, been selected for another random security search. What do I have to do to convince these people that MOTHERS WITH SMALL CHILDREN ARE NOT TERRORISTS! The most toxic thing we have in our bags is sour chocolate milk that is congealing in our sippy cups because we’ve been in the airport way past the point of any normal human endurance. Please, just let us be! Jacob starts up a steady stream of pathetic whining, because he had, after all, only had 5 hours of sleep the night before, and I said to the man standing next to me, as we waited to be screened in a small, closed off, extrememly claustrophia inducing glass hallway, “I swear, I’m about this close to just completely flipping out!”
He said, “Well, don’t flip out here. They’ll just think you’re a loonbat and it will make everything worse. Just keep it together until you get through security, and then you can flip out all you want at the gate.”
Good advice. The man with the white gloves decided there was nothing inherently dangerous about runny string cheese, smushed peanutbutter sandwiches, and crumpled granola bars, and finally sent us on our way. We ran to the gate, only to be told that the plane was at a different gate in a different terminal. We ran over there, found the gate, got our seats assigned, and got on the plane, although it took some creative juggling and some generosity on the part of other passengers for me to actually sit next to my own child. And it wasn’t until we landed in Salt Lake, when the whole experience was basically over, that I finally lost it. Felt pretty good, actually.
So please, I understand the need for national security, and the real threats that face our nation. But don’t bother the mothers, just don’t. We are not terrorists.We are just women who are doing our best not to flip out.
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