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The TSA Searched My Hair July 30, 2013

Posted by alwaysjan in Travel.
Tags: , , , , ,


Oh, the joys of travel.

Over Spring Break, I flew back to Detroit and environs to see my mother, who’d recently moved closer to my brother. He asked me to run my flight options by him as it’s an hour’s drive to the airport. The flight I’d bookmarked worked fine. So far, so good.

But when I got to LAX, the Delta kiosk spit out my credit card and refused to issue a boarding pass. It directed me to “See an agent.”  I got in line and shuffled along with my bag. Finally, it was my turn. I pulled out all the trip itinerary I’d printed out from my computer. The woman looked confused. “Where’s the paper with the confirmation number?” she asked. She checked her computer and then I heard the dreaded words. “You don’t seem to have actually purchased a ticket.”

I remember crying with disbelief. Could I really be so stupid? And of course, the answer was yes! I had bookmarked but neglected to confirm and pay for my $340 ticket! But, the agent informed me that I was in luck. Although this flight was sold out, there was one seat left on the next flight. And it was only going to cost $1300. “But I could fly to London for that!” I cried.

“Only one seat left,” she reminded me, “so you have to decide now if you want it.”  I tearfully handed her my credit card.

Now on the plus side, I got a seat in First Class. When the flight attendant brought out a basket of candy bars, I couldn’t believe they were free. I had told the guy sitting next to me my tale of woe and he ventured, “I actually think that might be the most expensive Milky Way you’ve ever eaten.” Ouch! When the basket-lady came round again, I, the basket-case, grabbed three more to get my money’s worth. I’m a clever one.

I’m going to skip over losing my keys at the airport for fear it could reactivate my PTSD. And yes, why did I take my keys with me on vacation? My son would locate these two days later at the TSA’s Lost and Found office manned by the world’s most disgruntled employee. But I digress. Did I mention that I had to be driven straight from LAX to Urgent Care as I’d developed a full-blown ear infection and had to be back at school the next day? But those are just Bonus Features.

Now what you’ve been waiting for – my hair.  No sooner had I gone through the Security “Assume the Position” Screener in Detroit then I was asked to step aside. “We need to search your hair,” the TSA woman said matter-of-factly. Huh? Okay, my hair tends to look like a native shrub, but I’d just had it cut for the trip. It’s not like anyone would mistake me for Angela Davis or Marge Simpson.

I was so stunned at this request that all I could do was laugh as the woman proceeded to massage my head. (It’s not the same with gloved hands.) I told her I had a bit of bed head in the back and asked if she could fix that. I couldn’t stop laughing.

When I told my students the next day what had happened, one boy suggested that I could have had a machine gun in my hair. “Really?” I asked incredulously. “Well, maybe a miniature one?” he offered. I made a mental note that I needed to reteach measurement and probability.

Rest assured that even when my hair is in the air, you can fly with peace of mind.

Drawing by Eli


1. czbz - July 30, 2013

O dear, that was hilarious!

p.s. Tell Eli his portrait is amazing.

p.p.s. Is that a gun barrel poking out of your head? Upper right, towards the middle. hehehe

hehehe. Good eye!


2. Richard - July 30, 2013

I have seen other things in your hair. Yes, besides your hair.

Living things do not count. Jan


3. Ticia - July 30, 2013

I like how Eli gave you striped eyes.

You know, I teach a lesson on drawing self portraits every year and still have kids
who can’t figure out the “whites of your eyes” thing. I’ve had kids draw themselves as black-eyed sharks! So as much as I was tempted to fiddle with the my eyes in Photoshop, I resisted the urge. Perhaps this is how I really look to my students? Jan


4. Elisse Stuart - July 31, 2013

I had not heard that the TSA had moved into providing spa treatments for passengers. Personally I’ve felt that the colon-peek-a-boo service was a bit much.

I especially love Eli’s interpretation of the tornado/hurricane effect going on with you hair but I’ve always thought you had nice fluffy hair. 🙂


5. Vivi - August 6, 2013

Hilarious!!!!! I bet you pepped up everyone in first class! As a teacher, weren’t you glad no head lice!!!! Have a great school year Jan


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