By Taylor Blasko
Find a spot to pull up to at the terminal. Hurry to get your stuff out of the car because even though the car has its four ways flashing it still feels like you’re being rushed out of the spot. Hustle inside. Stand in the obnoxiously long line. People clearly inexperienced and unprofessional surround you. One rolls their luggage over your foot. The other turns around and body checks you with a carry-on bag. You check-in. Fucking finally. Then make your way to security. Drug dogs come through the line several times. You wait. You observe the dog. A Belgian Malinois. You wonder if the dog can smell the residue of peanut butter from your granola bar lingering on your fingertips. The dog passes by without a care for your existence. You get to the barrier. Hand over your ID. Workers yell the same three things at you. “Take your shoes off…place ALL items on the belt…place laptops in their own bin…” People still can’t fucking do it right. You’d think they were born yesterday. You place your laptop in its own bin, push your stuff through the conveyor, and walk through the metal detector monitor. Feet on the prints. Hands above your head. People can’t even do this correctly. “No sir, please follow the picture in front of you…sir, your feet need to be on the yellow prints.” God dammit nobody opens their ears anymore. Too self absorbed. Your right arm gets patted down. Like any other procedure you stick it out and wait for them to stop touching you. You go to the end of the conveyor. Try to grab your things and move away to the benches as quickly as possible. Replace your bin on the pile. Except people can’t do this either. They dilly dally. They block the end of the conveyor. They stand there like the conveyor is their own private god damn table that they can feel free to block and stand in front of for all eternity. No awareness of anyone but themselves. Self-absorbed, inexperienced, unprofessional, typical. You finally make your way to the terminal. Find the nearest outlet to plug in your phone at your gate. Shove headphones in your ears. Now you wait.
This is what catching your flight looks like. I’ve done it enough times to be comfortable in my own skin at the airport. Face down. Walk with a purpose. Know where you’re going. Even if you don’t look like you do. Don’t leave your stuff unattended. Bring it to the bathroom with you. Travel light. I have it down to an exact science. And yet every time I encounter an outlier to fuck up the equation that I have followed religiously every time I catch a plane. And the equation works, people just make it more complicated than it needs to be and I get caught in their cross fire of stupidity.
I know a lot of people don’t fly that often. Fair. I’m being too critical. To be fair I don’t even fly that often when you compare it to someone who travels for a living. But in the past year I’ve been on a plane about ten times, and in this week I’m adding in another trip to the list. It’s not a glaring amount but it basically amounts to about once a month, give or take. It’s often enough for me to see trends in people. Trends that really grind my gears anymore. Like, if they say you just have to take your laptop out you don’t need to ask them if you need to take our your phone, iPod, etc., etc….you don’t even need to take out your liquids anymore. Like literally just follow the instructions that the airport people are telling you. Open your ears. Listening skills. Come on people. Also, what part of don’t leave your bags unattended doesn’t anybody understand? Literally every time I fly I see at least one person leave their shit and go to the bathroom. Like, was there some unspoken rule that you wanted me to watch your shit just because I was sitting next to you? Because like, no, that’s not my job. Also, at a few airports in the last year while travelling with my family they have been accosted for their water bottles before they ever step foot into the security line. But you know why? It’s because, I was travelling with my dad one time and he went up to the employee at the beginning of the security line and ASKED if he could take the water bottle past that point. And they vehemently replied with a no. I took the approach of walking my ass right through to the line with water bottle in hand. Again, it literally all comes down to looking like you know what you’re doing. The second you look lost everyone, including airport employees are going to take advantage of you. But seriously why do you think they have a plethora of garbage cans and recycle bins before you get to the security conveyors? It’s because everybody and their mother drinks their water bottle in line and chugs the whole thing until the very last second that they can carry that thing.
So for all you non-travelers out there, whenever you feel lost or like you don’t know what’s going on at the airport, I feel that this is one of the only instances that my best advice to you is to conform. Do what everyone else is doing. It makes you not look suspicious. Copy what people that look like they know what they are doing are doing. Because even if they don’t know what they’re doing at least your conforming and doing what everyone else is doing and therefore not looking suspicious. It’s literally the only time that my best advice is to conform. Only time. But please, for the sake of seasoned travelers, at least just stay as far out of our way as possible. Please?